First responders risk their lives for others


There is always a factor of unpredictability in everyday life. The world runs on risk and reward. In most cases, these risks and rewards are minor. However, first responders experience this concept on an extreme level. 

When first responders clock in for their shift, they go in with the knowledge that they could be risking their lives at any moment. In a matter of seconds, a person’s life can change. On Monday, Jan. 2, the Brakenridge area experienced this firsthand during a fatal shooting. The altercation left one officer dead and another officer injured. The suspect was later pronounced dead after a car chase and exchange with the police. 

Police officers heavily prepare for situations they may encounter. This starts in the police academy. There, they go over how to drive a patrol vehicle and the importance of getting to a call safely, so they can help the people who need their help. They also learn how to respond to specific events like an active intruder or active threat situation. To prepare for that, police officers attend an annual multi-department training session. This training informs them as to how to safely clear a house, how to safely search, and how to de-escalate situations. De-escalation is how to calm down people when they are worked up, angry and acting violent. 

“You don’t know what you’re going to get into. Safety-wise, we try to get as much info from our dispatch as possible,” Officer Rick Jones said, “We want to know prior to when we arrive at that residence so we know what we are looking into. After de-escalation when we get there, we can see what we have and we can work as a team from there.”

First responders, of every kind, work as a team to attend to the needs of the people in distress. Most people rely on first responders in times of emergency. These stressful times call for responders to get to the call as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, if they can not arrive safely or remain safe during the emergency, they will be unable to help anyone else. 

“If we put ourselves in unnecessary danger, or reckless danger, we are not going to be able to help anybody. When it comes down to certain situations, we are going to put a victim or somebody involved in that situation’s safety before our safety,” Officer Greg Pullen said.

This selfless mindset is exhibited by many first responders. Even so, these individuals also are concerned with their own safety. It is very important for them to keep a very vigilant awareness of their surroundings and take into account who is there. They are required to keep their head on a swivel and constantly look and know what is going on around them to ensure their own safety.

No matter what, the goal of every first responder is to help those in need. Once the job is done and the first responders take off their uniforms, they get to return to their life outside of the job. These individuals have lives of their own and families to return to at the end of their shift just like any other person in the workforce. 

“Our main goal, as a police officer, is that we want to go home to our families at night. That’s the most important. It’s the number one thing in all our heads is that we are going home at the end of our shift so we can be with our families,” Officer Jones said.