Officer Saves Choking Woman during Routine Traffic Stop

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Published on: August 14, 2014

While we routinely are pointing out where police officers get out of line or how they are being militarized. That has never been to paint with a broad brush, but is merely part of the way police are kept in check by the people. I often point out that the vast majority of police officers do their jobs well and am always happy to find a story like this one that involves Michigan Police Officer Jason Gates, who, in the midst of a routine traffic stop, thought quickly and helped save an unidentified woman who was choking.

MLive reports:

Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Jason Gates said he knows some people are calling him a hero after he rescued a choking woman during a traffic stop Saturday, but it doesn’t appear the attention has gone to his head.


Gates turned a routine traffic stop into a likely life-saving encounter when he stopped a vehicle for running a red light at 11:36 a.m. in the 4100 block of South Burdick St. As he approached her vehicle, Gates said he noticed the female driver was having difficulty breathing.

According to Gates, “For the first second or so I thought she might be trying to just get out of a ticket and then I realized she was in legitimate respiratory distress, so I tried to dislodge the item from her throat by just hitting her on the back. When that didn’t work, I got her out and I used the Heimlich for the first time in my nine-year police career and it worked.”

“I’m sure this happens to police officers all the time, but rarely does this get caught on a dash cam,” he told a press conference on Tuesday.

In any case, the training he had paid off for both him and the woman. In fact, the woman was so grateful that she turned and reached up and hugged his neck, thanking him for saving her life while at the same time crying.

As the news broke about the officer’s response, he was being hailed as a “lifesaver” and “hero.” I agree, he is both.

However, Gates, expressing humility said, “I just feel like I did what I’m paid to do. I’m glad for her that I happened to be there.”

Officer Gates reflects the kind of demeanor of police officers in the area I live in. Sure, we’ve all more than likely run across bad cops, and there is no doubt that there are pockets of corruption out there, but it’s always great to see these men doing their jobs as a service to the people.

Well done Officer Gates, and what a great spirit to do it with!

Watch the press conference:

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