Mich. police commish defends officers' hospital transport of unresponsive baby in patrol car
William Dwyer stands by his officers' decision to not wait for an ambulance and to rush the 4-month-old to the hospital
By Susan Smiley
The Macomb Daily
WARREN, Mich. — Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said his officers made a "split second decision" Saturday to drive a 4-month-old baby that was not breathing to a local hospital instead of waiting for the fire department's EMS unit to arrive and he stands by that decision.
The infant was pronounced dead at the hospital.
"I fully support the heroic actions taken by these officers in an attempt to save a child's life," said Dwyer. "The officers did nothing wrong and utilized their training, experience and common sense to get the child to the hospital as quickly as possible.
"The officers never stopped lifesaving measures from the time they arrived on the scene until they got to the hospital."
The March 18 incident began at 9:38 a.m. with a 911 call reporting a baby not breathing on the 1900 block of Rome Avenue near Nine Mile and Dequindre roads. According to Dwyer, officers began arriving on the scene at 9:40 a.m., attempted to administer CPR to the baby there, then quickly decided to drive the female infant 2.8 miles to Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital at 11 Mile and Dequindre roads.
"The total time elapsed was three minutes and seven seconds from the time the first officers arrived at the residence to the time the child was at the hospital," said Dwyer.
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During a Tuesday press conference held in Dwyer's office, the commissioner showed footage from the three officer's body cameras who were involved in the transport and discussed the protocol between police and fire first responders in these situations. Several times during the transport the officer administering CPR kept saying "she's still warm" and "c'mon baby."
"You will note that the Warren police officer was performing chest compressions and CPR all the way to the hospital," said Dwyer. "The officers arrived at the hospital at about the same time it would have taken the fire department to respond at the scene."
Dwyer said the officers and dispatchers involved in Sunday's incident will take part in a wellness program this week. All Warren police officers, he said, are trained in CPR.
The death of the baby is under investigation to try and determine what led to the child not breathing. Dwyer had no comment on the investigation other than saying it is open and ongoing.
He said reports from television media Monday of an internal investigation regarding the officers who transported the baby are false. A meeting between Dwyer and Warren Fire Commissioner Wilbert "Skip" McAdams has been scheduled to discuss protocol and communication between the two departments when these types of incidents arise.
"We are going to talk about what transpired and why this information got out the way it did get out," said Dwyer.
He added there has been a complaint from someone in the fire department regarding the way police officers handled the situation, but denied there is any feud between the two departments and described the situation as one unofficial complaint from one fire employee. Dwyer declined to comment on the specific complaints from the fire department until the two sides meet formally.
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