BY TOM KOCAL for This is Laramie 815-275-3025 TKocal915@icloud.com
LARAMIE – “If we’re called upon, that’s what we have to do.”
Humble words from Laramie Police Officer Terrance “TJ” Johnson upon receiving the Laramie Police Dept. Life-Saving Award Wednesday, June 16. Johnson was nominated for the honor by Sgt. Robert Austin after responding to a call that an unidentified, unresponsive male was receiving CPR compressions by a relative in a vehicle at the Love’s Truck Stop on March 22.
Johnson was first to arrive at the scene, and when he observed that the man was not breathing, removed him from the vehicle onto the surface of the parking lot. Johnson took over, performing CPR until the man was placed in the EMS vehicle. When a Laramie Fire Dept. paramedic and the sergeant on the scene could not detect a pulse and the man was still not breathing, Johnson continued the chest compressions. He was relieved by paramedics while the man was in transport to Ivinson Memorial Hospital.
On the way to the hospital, EMS personnel administered one defibrillation charge along with Advanced Cardiac Life Support measures, restoring a faint heartbeat. At the hospital, emergency room staff had to conduct further life-saving measures when they lost the heartbeat. CPR was started, and the patient was resuscitated before being stabilized for transport to a Colorado hospital.
LFD Company Officer Thor Rasmussen said, “Officer Johnson did a fantastic job with his chest compressions that were instrumental in this life-saving effort. Every minute that passes results in a lower probability that the patient will be resuscitated successfully. Without Officer Johnson’s CPR efforts, it might not have been possible to revive the subject’s heartbeat.”
Family members told the LPD on March 31 that the man’s prognosis for survival was still uncertain, but they were “very appreciative” of Johnson’s efforts.
In April, Sgt. Austin spoke with the attending emergency room physician, Douglas Maynard, D.O., about Johnson’s actions.
“It is my opinion that Officer Johnson’s resuscitative efforts helped to give the patient a chance at survival and continued treatment. I agree that Officer Johnson deserves recognition . . . for his life-saving actions,” Maynard said in a written statement sent to the LPD.
Presented by Laramie Chief of Police Dale Stalder, the Life-Saving Award certificate stated, “Your actions showed your ability to stay calm, make appropriate choices in stressful situations, and apply life-saving measures. Your professionalism and honor are a tribute to your profession. Your dedication and quick thinking are an example to your peers and the community.”
“To those who don’t know the process, the department has a general order that dictates how these awards are given. It’s not a simple matter, and it is not taken lightly,” Stalder said. “We go through a review process, through every level of sergeants to upper command. This is not a common occu rrence, and Officer Johnson is worthy of this recognition.”
With officers like TJ Johnson, residents of Laramie are in good hands.