The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Officer Brenton Medeiros, of the Cranston (RI) Police Department, as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for May 2016.
On March 24, 2015, Officer Brenton Medeiros was on his way to start his 11:30 p.m. shift at the Cranston (RI) Police Department, driving westbound on I-195 in East Providence, when he came upon flames rising from North Hull Street. Officer Medeiros pulled over and discovered an SUV on fire at the end of the street, which dead-ends into a guardrail, and called 911.
Officer Medeiros initially assumed the people he saw standing at the top of the street were the vehicle's occupants, but as he looked more closely, he noticed a person still in the driver's seat. At this point, the flames were quickly engulfing the entire engine compartment of the Range Rover and the driver was not moving.
Realizing time was running out, Officer Medeiros immediately ran toward the vehicle, down the embankment, and scaled a six-foot chain link fence adjacent to the interstate.
When he reached the SUV, he found the driver startled and confused. Officer Medeiros removed the driver's seat belt, pulled him out of the vehicle, and dragged him 30 to 40 feet to safety.
"I ran down the embankment and made it over the fence somehow. I don't think I could make it over again, but I was just lucky, I guess," said Officer Medeiros. "I'd never dealt with a car fire before, only what I had seen in movies. So I wasn't sure if the car was going to blow up or what was going to happen."
By the time the fire department arrived, the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. The driver, former Nortek CEO Richard Bready, was taken to the hospital and has since made a full recovery.
"In the academy they tell you to be ready for anything, expect anything," said Officer Medeiros. "But at that moment, I saw the car fire and didn't know what to expect… my natural instincts just kicked in. It might've been my training too. I just did what I thought I was supposed to do."
Officer Medeiros said the rescue delayed his reporting for duty and he notified his shift supervisor that he would be a few minutes late. He minimized his heroic actions, saying only that he had stopped for a "car fire." It wasn't until the following morning that the full details of the incident became available through reports by the local media.
One week later, Officer Medeiros was again able to save a life when he administered a dose of naloxone to a 20-year-old Cranston woman who had overdosed on heroin. The victim was found unresponsive, and after quickly recognizing the signs of a fatal overdose, Officer Medeiros immediately administered the department-issued medication to the victim, which helped sustain her until medics arrived.
"I commend Officer Medeiros who, incredibly, saved the lives of two individuals in less than a week," said Cranston Police Chief Col. Michael J. Winquist.
"Law enforcement officers save lives every day in America, but saving two in a single week is extraordinary," Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig W. Floyd said. "Officer Medeiros' quick thinking and humility in his heroic actions earn him the May 2016 Officer of the Month Award."
Located in the nation's capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund's Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Officer Brenton Medeiros, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2016, will be honored during National Police Week at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2017.
For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund's Officer of the Month Award, visit www.LawMemorial.org/OTM.
Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a private non-profit organization dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement and making it safer for those who serve. The Memorial Fund built and now operates and maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, which contains the names of 20,789 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. The Memorial Fund is now building the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will tell the story of American law enforcement through high-tech, interactive exhibitions, historical artifacts and extensive educational programming. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.