Dalton Police officers praised for saving woman on bridge, fire department engineer also commended

·3 min read

Sep. 30—A pair of Dalton police officers who prevented a possible suicide were commended for their efforts during Tuesday's meeting of the Dalton Public Safety Commission.

"It appeared she was going to jump" from the Benny J. Dunn Honorary Bridge on Waugh Street, but Officers Coleman Jenkins and Keidric Johnson "led to a very good outcome on a case that could've been very bad," said Chris Crossen, assistant chief of the Dalton Police Department.

Jenkins utilized his "skills and compassion to engage the young woman in conversation," and when Johnson arrived, they "teamed up" to keep her attention while moving closer, eventually pulling her to safety.

Jenkins received the department's Award of Merit, "one of our highest awards," for "bringing honor to the department with his selfless acts," while Johnson received the Award of Valor for "putting himself at great risk" by pulling the woman to safety, Crossen said. "They used tactics taught in training, but also their compassion as human beings," acting with "very little regard" for their safety.

Jenkins had been through Crisis Intervention Training, and "I think that's one reason he was able to keep (the woman) on an even keel," said Police Chief Cliff Cason. "I'm very, very impressed by the actions of both officers."

Dalton Fire Department Engineer Jared Burns was also commended during the meeting for his actions while off-duty Sept. 5.

A multi-vehicle wreck occurred in front of his house, and "he jumped to duty, (doing) what he's trained to do," said Fire Chief Todd Pangle. Burns helped people in a pair of vehicles, including two who were trapped, and helped extricate them.

The department's commendation is "one of our highest awards," Pangle said. Burns was "a good representative of our department, our city and our training."

"We have so many brave first responders, and the city of Dalton is lucky to have you guys," said Terry Mathis, chairman of the Public Safety Commission. "We couldn't be prouder of you guys."

Also Tuesday, commissioners approved 5-0 the promotion of Terry Michael Bowen to sergeant.

This promotion is "a long time coming" for the Southeast Whitfield High School and Georgia Northwestern Technical College alumnus who spent 13 years with the Dalton Police Department before "doing some ministry," Cason said. Bowen returned to the police force in 2018, and he's been in the patrol division, as well as serving as a training officer.

He's "always performed admirably, and his character cannot be matched by many in our society," Cason said. He's "a truly talented officer, and his skills will translate to being a supervisor on the patrol shift."

The commissioners also approved 5-0 a new hire for the police department, 30-year-old Jordan Owens.

Owens is a graduate of Ringgold High School and Brigham Young University-Idaho, Cason said.

"We're very excited about having a new cadet who just graduated out of the academy last week."

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