Officers recognized

Mirror photo by Sean Sauro Hollidaysburg Mayor Joseph Dodson reads from a letter of commendation on Thursday, honoring Patrolmen Mark Lingafelt (second from left) and Richard Oldham (right) for their part in reviving a woman who overdosed on opioid drugs. Acting Chief Rodney Estep (left) stands holding a second letter.

HOLLIDAYSBURG — After reviving a woman who overdosed on opioid drugs, two Hollidaysburg Borough police officers were honored at a Thursday evening public meeting by the local mayor and acting police chief.

Mark Lingafelt and Richard Oldham responded to a call shortly after 8 p.m. Jan. 5, when it was reported that a woman was unresponsive and barely breathing, Mayor Joseph Dodson said, reading from a letter of commendation.

“Occasionally, our members find themselves thrust into a life or death scenario and must make split-second decisions that drastically impact lives,” Dodson read. “It is important we recognize your effort.”

When the officers arrived, they found the woman in the midst of a medical emergency, Acting Chief Rodney Estep said, explaining the emergency was later determined to be a drug overdose.

Because another person at the scene had hid drug paraphernalia before police arrived, the officers had to rely on prior training to identify the signs of an overdose, Estep said.

Then, the officers were able to administer a dose of naloxone — a life-saving medicine that reverses the effects of an opioid-related overdose, Estep said.

“It worked,” he said. “She started breathing again.”

Dodson called the life-saving act “pretty commendable.”

Reading from the letter at Thursday’s meeting, Dodson offered public accolades.

“Your quick actions and recognition of the gravity of the situation certainly saved a life,” he read. “We are proud of you, and the Borough of Hollidaysburg is a better place because of you.”

After the meeting, Estep explained that all of the borough’s officers are trained to administer naloxone in an overdose situation.

Estep said Hollidaysburg was the first Blair County police department to carry the life-saving medicine. The local department worked with Hollidaysburg Ambulance personnel on training, he said.

To date, naloxone has been administered rarely in the borough, Estep said.

“In Hollidaysburg, it’s not a prevalent problem,” Estep said of opioid drug overdoses. “It is a serious problem.”

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.

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