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Video: Louisiana Officer Resigns Following Water Rescue

March 21, 2016  | 

VIDEO: Louisiana Officer Resigns Following Water Rescue

A Haughton, LA, police officer who was facing disciplinary action after a water rescue told KSLA he turned in his resignation letter Tuesday.

A week ago, the officer, who wishes to not be named, came upon a woman and two children in need of being rescued. The woman, Jamie Stathem, and her daughter were clinging to a tree, while Stathem's son steadied himself on the roof of the flooded SUV.

The officer tried to rescue the family, but soon found himself needing to be rescued after the rushing water pushed his police SUV off the road.

Bossier Parish deputies and Bossier Fire District 2 eventually made it to the scene and rescued all 4 victims.

But since then, the Haughton officer's job has been on the line after what many are calling a "heroic rescue."

The officer said since word got out about his job hanging in the balance, hundreds of people called the police station, voicing their opinions about the incident.

A public meeting was scheduled for Tuesday at 5:00 p.m., but the city said that meeting had been canceled.

According to Haughton Chief Rodney Farrington, the special public meeting was supposed to be concerning the officer's alleged violation of policy and procedure. However, since the incident is a personnel issue, Farrington couldn't confirm whether or not the meeting was over the officer responding just outside the city limits or because a police vehicle was totaled in the flood waters.

This was the second incident for this officer involving damage to a Haughton police vehicle. In 2014, he wrecked a police unit while responding to a call for help.

Despite the results of the officer's actions, when asked if he would do it all again to save a life, he said "yes."

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Deputy Dog @ 3/21/2016 8:58 PM

WTF is wrong with the administration at that officer's department?!?!? This is what officers are supposed to do, put their lives on the line to save civilians' lives. So what if he was a little out of his jurisdiction or totaled a police cruiser that is covered by insurance? So what! He was willing to risk everything to help an innocent woman and her children. He should be promoted for his bravery during public assistance!

kevCopAz @ 3/21/2016 11:22 PM

Agreed, equipment is always expendable over the life of someone. These "bean counting" administrators need to wake up. Perhaps this officer didn't do it the right way, obviously he has courage and his heart is in the right place. His "mistakes" did not harm anyone, so wouldn't it be a training/learning moment? Perhaps he could learn from his "mistakes" and become a better officer for it. Would they rather he had parked in a high and dry place and watch as the victims were washed away? I bet an explanation of "I didn't want my car to get wet" would not have made his Department bosses happy would it?

Chief 800 @ 3/22/2016 11:42 AM

Possible that this office has been reprimanded for being out of his jurisdiction before. Had he been in his jurisdiction he would not have even known the event was occurring. It sounds like he was going to get disciplinary action and then back on the force a bit wiser. Sounds like he chose to resign. I commend his courage and hope he will go to another agency armed both with his bravery and his understanding of following department policies. As a personnel issue I can tell you that a chief cannot comment to the media about his personnel file. Glad they were all safely rescued.

Leonard @ 3/23/2016 7:40 AM

I don't get this one. Seems to me this officer should be praised for making an attempt to save a life.

HRPurnstuf @ 3/23/2016 2:17 PM

Wow. If they want to discipline or fire him for trying to save someone, imagine what they would do if he had actually completed the save. Probably hang him.

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