CPD Honors Recruit For Helping Save Man's Life While Off-Duty

Nancy Harty
July 05, 2019 - 1:16 pm
The Chicago Police Department honored one of its recruits Friday morning for helping save a man's life on the West Side. 

WBBM Newsradio/Nancy Harty

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Police Department honored one of its recruits Friday morning for helping save a man's life on the West Side. 

Probationary Officer Timothy Sweeney was off-duty Sunday morning, going to pick up a blueberry pie to bring to his grandmother's house, when he saw a man lying in the street on Chicago Avenue near Ashland.

The man had just been hit by a car, was bleeding, and his shin bone was sticking out of his right leg, Sweeney said.

"I saw bright red blood. We learned in LEMART that that's an indication of arterial bleeding, so I knew I needed to stop it somehow. I needed to apply a tourniquet like we learned. I didn't have one on me, so I asked a gentlemen for his belt, used the belt until the officers got on scene," Sweeney said.

Probationary Officer Timothy Sweeney said the man appeared more concerned about his cell phone than his injuries.

"He didn't know what his leg looked like at the time and didn't feel pain right then and there, so I was just trying to get him engaged and was like we'll get your cell phone later," Sweeney said.

Sweeney spent two years as a Chicago firefighter/paramedic before joining the police force and just had just been trained at the police academy on life-saving skills adapted from the military. Sergeant Brian Berkowitz said they repeatedly run recruits through Law Enforcement Medical and Rescue Training (LEMART) for situations just like this. 

"Tourniquets, QuikClot Combat Gauze, chest seals, pressure bandages to treat these preventable death injuries right when the wounding happens," he said.

Sweeney said he's able to do the maneuver with his eyes closed. Officers said Sweeney helped saved the man's life.

The department presented Sweeney and two other officers with special coins for their work at the police academy at a ceremony Friday morning.

Sgt. Berkowitz said the department is getting 6,500 kits this August that will allow patrol officers to carry equipment such as tourniquets and pressure bandages on them.