Life Saver — Officer honored for thwarting suicide attempt

HE DIDN’T HESITATE — Bridgton Police Officer Todd Smolinsky was formally recognized Tuesday by Selectman Chairman Bernie King for saving a person from committing suicide last fall. Smolinsky’s life-saving actions were honored by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association at their recent annual winter meeting. (Geraghty Photo)

HE DIDN’T HESITATE — Bridgton Police Officer Todd Smolinsky was formally recognized Tuesday by Selectman Chairman Bernie King for saving a person from committing suicide last fall. Smolinsky’s life-saving actions were honored by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association at their recent annual winter meeting. (Geraghty Photo)

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton Selectmen on Tuesday recognized six-year Bridgton Officer Todd Smolinsky for his quick action in saving a person from committing suicide last fall. Smolinsky was one of seven officers and two civilians statewide who received a Lifesaving Award at the Maine Chiefs of Police Association’s recent annual winter meeting.

Selectman Chairman Bernie King presented Smolinsky with a framed letter from the board detailing the circumstances of the police call on Sept. 1, 2015. No name or address was used. King said selectmen wanted to add their voices to the Maine Chiefs in saying that “Your work that night saved this person’s life in their time of crisis, and for that you and your family should be very proud of your steadfast dedication to public safety and the community of Bridgton.”

The letter stated that Smolinsky was alone on his shift, with no backup, when he was dispatched to respond to a residence for someone threatening suicide. “These calls are known to be one of the most hazardous in police work, as someone who contemplates suicide is often willing to harm responding officers,” the letter stated.

The letter continued, “You quickly arrived on scene to find a secured home with no one responding. While walking around the exterior of the home, you discovered an individual hanging by the neck. You quickly lifted the person and cut the rope free, loosened the rope around their neck, found a weak pulse and performed a sternum rub. The individual began to respond. You then moved them to allow for a better airway, as it was obviously compromised. United Ambulance transported the individual to Bridgton Hospital where they were airlifted to Maine Medical Center due to their serious condition. The individual has since fully recovered.”

The letter concluded, “These are very difficult calls, and we are very impressed with your efforts, all the more so because you were alone on shift with no backup.”

Town Manager Bob Peabody said in his Manager’s Report for Jan. 26 that the decision to honor Smolinsky’s act received unanimous support by the Maine Chiefs of Police. “Congratulations Todd, for a job well done.”

Police Chief Richard Stillman nominated Smolinsky for the Maine Chiefs award, and was on hand Tuesday when King recognized him.

“I am very proud of the work all the officers do every day and want the public to know how dedicated Bridgton officers are to help the public whenever they can,” Stillman said Wednesday. “Suicide calls are very dangerous and stressful, and add to that Todd was working alone, with no backup. When I think about how terrifying this situation was as it unfolded, and how Todd did what he had to do to save this person, I can only say Bridgton is fortunate to have such good officers.”

 

 

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