A lifesaving act

Oswego police officer Daniel Balloni saved a 20-year-old woman Sunday from drowning in the Oswego River. Randy Pellis/Oswego County News

Not all of us hold jobs that would compel us to put our lives on the line to save others.

But many people work in such occupations, and we’re blessed to be able to take advantage of their services. It’s humbling to know that some among us are willing to accept incredible risks to ensure public safety.

An example of this occurred Sunday in Oswego. Sometime around 1 a.m., police responded to a report of screams for help coming from the west side of the Oswego River near West Seneca Street.

Officers searched the area and saw a 20-year-old woman struggling to stay afloat. One officer threw a lifesaver ring toward the woman, but she was too weak to grab ahold of it.

Oswego police officer Daniel Balloni was on routine patrol in the area. Seeing what was going on, he understood what he had to do.

“So as quick as I could, I took off my gun belt and my boots and jumped in, [grabbed] onto her,” he said in a story published Sunday by CNYCentral.com.

Mr. Balloni and the woman were pulled to shore and transported to Oswego Hospital to be treated for hypothermia. The officer was released, and the woman was listed in stable condition.

“The river averages 42 degrees Fahrenheit in December, officials said,” the Post-Standard reported in a story published Monday. “At about that temperature, a person loses dexterity in three to five minutes and can become unconscious in as little as 30 minutes, according to experts.”

Mr. Balloni believes the woman was in the water for about 10 minutes. He told the Post-Standard that he couldn’t have saved this woman without the efforts of the other officers involved.

“It feels good, of course,” he said in the CNYCentral.com article. “We get into this job because you wanna help people, and I got to truly help someone last night.”

There have been numerous reports in the past few years of questionable actions on the part of police officers, particularly those that result in the deaths of other people. As law enforcement agents are tasked with protecting members of the public, it’s important to be aware of instances where abuses have occurred.

But it’s easy to overlook the fact that every minute of every day, officers across the country put themselves in jeopardy for our benefit. Mr. Balloni’s decision to jump into a freezing body of water to save this woman reflects well on him, the Oswego Police Department and the law enforcement profession.

He had confidence in his training and that of his fellow officers, and we’re pleased that he and the woman escaped the river safely. This story had a good ending, and it’s reassuring to know we’re under the watch of such dedicated individuals.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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