A city police officer’s decisiveness at the scene of a bloody May domestic dispute prevented the situation from turning tragic.
Greenwood Police Sgt. Benjamin Baker — a 9-year veteran of the force — was issued a lifesaving medal on Monday by Chief Gerald Brooks after he stopped a person from bleeding to death with a tourniquet.
“A big part of any mission of a police department is to protect people’s lives and property. Towards that end, we’ve taken care to have our officers prepared. They’re equipped with Narcan to assist with opioid drug overdoses and with tourniquets, and have also been trained in CPR,” Brooks told the City Council.
That training and equipment, Brooks said, helps to save lives every year, although sometimes it can be difficult for an officer to know whether their actions directly contributed to keeping a person alive.
“We hope that’s the case, but sometimes you can’t be sure. In this instance, we know there can’t be any doubt,” Brooks said.
On the night of May 5, EMS personnel were dispatched to the call of a possible domestic dispute, and Baker arrived ahead of them to secure the scene.
“The patient had a huge laceration to the right arm, severing most if not all arteries from the elbow down,” Brooks said, reading from an email sent to him by an EMS shift supervisor recounting Baker’s role. “Sgt. Baker applied a tourniquet to the area of the laceration prior to our arrival.”
By the time the patient arrived at the hospital, Brooks said, their blood pressure was “31 over 0.”
“Had Sgt. Baker not applied the tourniquet when he did, the patient would have hemorrhaged to the point of death before we could have gotten him to the hospital,” the shift supervisor relayed to Brooks. “The patient survived solely due to the quick actions of Sgt. Baker.”
Self Regional Medical Center’s trauma care coordinator also praised Baker’s instincts.
“The doctor and I would like to commend Sgt. Benji Baker for his heroic actions,” he said in an email to Brooks.
“In light of those two pieces of correspondence, there can be no doubt in our mind that our sergeant saved a person’s life that night. We’re very proud of him for that,” Brooks said.
Baker said his intervention was simply part of his job as a police officer.
“It’s pretty awesome. I’m just glad I was there and able to help the guy, that was the main thing,” Baker said.