JACKSONVILLE, FL- Once again, a “systemically racist” police officer risked their life serving their fellow man. Unfortunately we only hear stories about the infinitesimal number of police officers who are the bad apples but never about the good things cops do.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office released bodycam video last week of a Florida police officer risking her own life by diving into a retention pond to rescue an infant who had fallen into the water.
On June 9, Officer Me’Atia Sanderson was dispatched to what appeared to be an apartment or condominium complex on the report of a child that had gone into the water. For Off. Sanderson however this was much more than an emergency rescue call—because the officer herself does not know how to swim, WESH reported.
“Ofc. Sanderson, who does not know how to swim herself, without a second’s hesitation, entered the pond to retrieve the child and performed CPR until she was relieved by other responding officers,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a statement.
On the bodycam video, the officer can be seen running toward the retention pond, with an unidentified woman shouting, “Help! Over here!” Sanderson asked the woman, “Where’s the baby at?” at which point the woman pointed the child out.
Sanderson and the woman spotted the child in the water. Then, without hesitation, Sanderson dove into the water to recover the child, along with the other woman.
“Oh shit, oh Lord,” Sanderson said as she initially waded into the pond.
“I’m getting him, I’m getting him,” she said, then dove into the pond.
The bodycam is then underwater for what appears to be about ten seconds, then Off. Sanderson is seen retrieving the baby from the water and going onshore.
“Put him down,” she instructed a man who was standing over the baby.
She then began performing infant CPR on the child. “Come on baby,” she said as she was compressing the child’s chest with her fingers. She continued performing CPR on the baby until paramedics arrived and took over.
In a Facebook post that accompanied the video, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office wrote:
“Ofc. Me’Atia Sanderson joined JSO in March of 2019. A patrol officer in Zone 4 (Westside), Ofc. Sanderson was working on June 9th of this year when JSO and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department were dispatched to an infant drowning in a retention pond.
Sanderson was the first to arrive on scene and was alerted that the infant was still in the water. Ofc. Sanderson, who does not know how to swim herself, without a second’s hesitation, entered the pond to retrieve the child and performed CPR until she was relieved by other responding officers. Her actions, while putting her own life at risk, undoubtedly saved the child’s life.”
Sanderson received official recognition honoring her saving of the child, according to representatives of the sheriff’s office for her “quick and decisive decision to go into the retention pond.”
“Her actions, while putting her own life at risk, undoubtedly saved the child’s life,” the department said.
Water rescues are nothing new for officers in the Sunshine State. For example earlier this year, officers from the Florida Highway Patrol were credited with saving the lives of a driver and passenger who were in a vehicle that went into a retention pond, as reported by the Daily Wire. In that particular case, police snipers also had to respond to the scene to protect rescuers from alligators.
That incident occurred when the vehicle’s operator lost control while trying to exit the Florida Turnpike. The vehicle overturned and slid into the pond. Footage of the rescue showed at least one officer lying prone on the bank of the pond with his rifle’s sights trained toward the pond, looking for alligators.
Local media images showed other police officers carrying rifles in different spots around the banks of the pond, and showed at least one alligator swimming near the surface of the pond with its head above water.
While both occupants of the vehicle were initially rescued by officers, one of them later succumbed at a local hospital shortly thereafter.
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