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Feel-Good Friday: North Carolina Officer Kenneth Battle-Hay Saves the Life of 4-Week-Old Baby

Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP

The Salisbury Police Department in North Carolina is committed to community policing. So, they focus on engagement with neighbors and the neighborhood through programs, but more importantly, through their presence:

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The Community Policing philosophy succeeds by establishing police officers on decentralized permanent beats, where they are charged with the responsibility, and enjoy the freedom and autonomy to operate as community-based problem solvers who work directly with the neighborhood residents. Their assignment is to help make neighborhoods better and safer places in which to live and work.

The people of Salisbury are blessed to have such an engaged police force, and one family, in particular, is thankful for the presence of Officer Kenneth Battle-Hay, whose heroic act is the subject of this week's Feel-Good Friday. Hat tip to native North Carolina girl and colleague Sister Toldjah for pointing me toward this story:

A Salisbury officer saved a baby unable to breathe last week, the police department announced Monday.

The situation unfolded on Thursday, June 13, when police responded to calls regarding a four-week-old infant who wasn’t breathing.

Officer Battle-Hay quickly responded to the scene and was the first to arrive; when he did, he found the baby’s parents trying to perform CPR.

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The rapid response is part of having cops on a particular beat, so Officer Battle-Hay was available when he was most needed. And in a choking situation, time is of the essence. Choking is a leading cause of death among infants and small children under four, so no doubt these new parents were frightened out of their minds. This hearkens to one of editor Bob Hoge's "Heroes" stories, about an El Monte, California, police officer who used the LifeVac to revive an eight-year-old boy who had choked on a candy and stopped breathing. 

The Salisbury PD said that Battle-Hay immediately began performing life-saving measures on the infant, and the baby started breathing again. Battle-Hay held the baby and ensured the newborn remained stable until EMS arrived:

The baby is currently at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital, receiving treatment.

“Our thoughts and prayers will remain with the family and for the infant’s recovery,” the Police Department wrote. “The heroic actions taken by Officer Battle-Hay should not go unnoticed and reflect the training all officers receive to react in situations like these.”

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An example of community policing and training that works to save lives and hold families and neighborhoods together. Officer Battle-Hay has less than three years with the Salisbury Police Department. He served in the United States Marine Corps, where he was a logistics soldier in the U.S. and Seoul, Korea, before joining the North Carolina police force in 2022:

Not all heroes wear capes; some wear a badge and a blue uniform. This type of police response and service deserves to be backed.

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