When you think about police work, Brownwood Police Chief Mike Corley said at Tuesday's city council meeting, you think about chasing suspects, putting suspects in jail, helping people.
"I don't think, whether you're a firefighter, a paramedic, a police officer, saving a human life I don't think is a better, more honorable thing that you can do," Corley added as he prepared to present the Departmental Life Saving Award to three-year patrolman Anna Sturgeon.
Corley and Sturgeon stood together to face a packed council chamber as Corley read a narrative of Sturgeon's action on June 6, when she prevented a "young female" from jumping off the Bill Monroe Overpass during a suicide attempt.
Several Brownwood police officers and some of Sturgeon's relatives were among the audience in the council chambers.
"I'm so proud of Anna," Corley said.
According to the narrative:
Sturgeon responded to the overpass regarding a juvenile problem and recognized that the juvenile was trying to jump from the overpass. Sturgeon "took immediate action by physically controlling the female" as the girl attempted to climb onto the side railing.
Sturgeon removed the girl from the overpass and contacted appropriate personnel to ensure that she received assistance for depression. "Witnesses at the scene indicated that Officer Sturgeon performed well and did save a life that evening," the narrative states.
Corley said Sturgeon's sergeant nominated her for the award and Corley appointed a committee, chaired by Assistant Chief James Fuller, to review Sturgeon's actions. "It doesn't happen every day ... we don't just give this out to anybody," Corley said. Corley released a copy of a letter from Fuller about the incident.
Sgt. Art Shannon watched a video of the incident recorded on a camera in Sturgeon's patrol car, and Shannon immediately believed that Sturgeon saved the girl's life, Fuller's letter states. A witness told patrolman Brian Tompkins, a member of the committee Corley appointed to review the incident, that Sturgeon "swept" the girl from the rail to safety. That witness believed the girl would have jumped without Sturgeon's intervention.
"It is our opinion that Officer Sturgeon's individual effort ... did prevent the imminent death of (the girl)," Fuller's letter states.
Corley said, "I've been in this business for 37 years and I have probably personally been aware of 15, maybe 20, lifesaving awards ... It's a very special day."