October 7, 2023

STEPPING UP TO SERVE: Flowood officer saves baby from choking on Friday

Therese Apel

Flowood Police Officer Will Brantley and his K9, Castor, who died last month

Flowood Police Officer Will Brantley and his K9, Castor, who died last month

Life-saving training and a father’s instinct kicked in on Friday when a Flowood police officer kept an 8-week-old child from choking to death.

Flowood Chief Eric Zetterholm said on Friday, Officer Will Brantley was working his normal shift. It had been a fairly busy day for FPD, and the weather was trying to decide between overcast and sunny.

Brantley was sitting in his vehicle in the median around 1 p.m. when a car pulled up and a woman jumped out.

The woman told Brantley that her 8-week-old baby was choking and could not breathe. On her face he saw a panic that every parent is familiar with — the fear that something horrible is going to happen to her child. With his own toddler at home, Brantley related immediately to what the woman was going through.

Brantley, who has been with Flowood PD since 2017, immediately stepped into action, turning the baby over and striking his back to dislodge the blockage. Eventually, the baby’s airway was clear and he began to breathe on his own again. He learned that the mother and son were from Newton, and they left to go to a hospital for further evaluation.

Police officers are trained in CPR lifesaving measures at the police academy. Zetterholm said training and preparation not only saved the life of the infant on Friday, but saves lives every day.

“Our officers are trained in saving lives whether that’s accomplished by arresting a drunk driver or as in this case, saving a choking baby,” he said. “This is a reminder of the importance of training in CPR for not only law enforcement but for the public in general.”

Zetterholm said Brantley reacted as as a police officer and a father, but hopefully also as any other human being regardless of their station in life would.

“We hope anybody who saw an infant choking would react the same,” he said. “He was in the right place at the right time, and his training allowed him to remain calm, but there’s a human factor here. We’d like to think anyone else would have reacted the same.”

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