WATERTOWN — On Monday night, city police officer Wayne W. McConnell got to high five a little boy whose life he’s credited with saving.
During a City Council meeting Monday night, Mr. McConnell was among two officers recognized with a Life Saving Award from Police Chief Charles P. Donoghue.
Mr. McConnell was honored for his quick response in saving the 4-year-old boy who was not breathing when he was pulled from the shallow end of a Harris Street pool shortly before 7 p.m. on June 17. The city police officer was inside his K-9 patrol vehicle a few blocks away when the call came in. He rushed to the scene, where neighbors alerted him to the backyard.
The boy looked pale when Mr. McConnell began doing CPR with chest compressions. He told the Times he knew the child’s lungs were full of water and that his best option was to attempt to get his heart beating and the water out.
City firefighters, who are all paramedics, arrived on the scene and took over administering further aid. EMS personnel from Guilfoyle Ambulance Service also arrived.
Ultimately, the 4-year-old was airlifted to Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse and was released a day later.
The little boy, now fully recovered, and Mr. McConnell were reunited for the second time since the 4-year-old fell into the shallow end of the in-ground backyard pool.
The boy’s father, Devon Decicco, held his son safely in his arms Monday while Mr. McConnell received his two commendations. After the ceremony, the officer stopped to see them, shook hands with the father, gave the boy a high five and patted him on the back.
“I think he’s a hero,” the father said.
To keep the boy’s privacy, the father declined to give his son’s name.
After the mid-June incident, the boy’s family met with Mr. McConnell a few days later to thank him. The boy’s father thanked everyone involved in saving his son.
Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith also recognized Mr. McConnell for his heroics Monday. While the officer said he was just doing his job, Mayor Smith said he “went above and beyond” in his actions to save the boy.
Chief Donoghue and the mayor also recognized another officer for saving another city resident’s life. The police chief was not identifying the resident, who Officer Tyler J. Hill found laying unconscious on the second floor of a city residence. The stricken resident was not breathing and was without a pulse.
Mr. Hill performed CPR until the fire department arrived before the resident was taken to Samaritan Medical Center. The resident has since recovered.
Mr. Hill received the Life Saving Award for his actions and recognition by the mayor.
The audience at the council meeting gave both officers a standing ovation.