Somerset police officer receives Medal for Life SavingArea News
-- Somerset, Wis. Police Officer Joshua Hecht was presented the Somerset Police Department Medal for Life Saving at the Village of Somerset Board meeting on Tuesday, March 20.
By: Ashley Halladay, Pierce County Herald
Somerset, Wis. Police Officer Joshua Hecht was presented the Somerset Police Department Medal for Life Saving at the Village of Somerset Board meeting on Tuesday, March 20.
On Feb. 15 at 12:01 a.m., Hecht responded to a report of a woman hanging from the St. Croix River High Bridge. With the assistance of two Somerset Fire and Rescue officers and his own diligent efforts, the woman was located hanging under the bridge held only by one of her legs that was trapped between the railroad ties.
According to Somerset Police Chief Doug Briggs, at the time the woman was dangling 182 feet in the air with nothing between her and the frozen river.
He said the only approach to the location was along a narrow grate with a single hand rail for support. The only light available at the time was from the small flashlight held by Hecht and the temperature was just 21 degrees.
“Despite the difficulty of approaching the desperate woman, Officer Hecht did not hesitate and placed himself in danger to bring about her rescue,” Briggs said. “Officer Hecht, with the Somerset Fire and Rescue officers, went immediately to her and through their efforts the woman was pulled from under the bridge and placed in a safe position until the arrival of better equipped rescuers.”
Briggs said Hecht’s actions clearly averted a tragedy.
“His clear thought, decisiveness and disregard for his own safety resulted in the saving of this woman’s life. His actions deserve the appreciation and respect of his agency and his community,” Briggs wrote in his letter of recognition. “It is with that appreciation and respect that he is awarded the Somerset Police Department Medal for Life Saving.”
Brigg said police officers and firefighters risk their lives every day, “but it’s not often that they have to do it in the middle of the night, in the winter, 180 feet in the air on a narrow bridge. That was the reason that we thought Officer Hecht really deserved recognition for what he did.”
Following the presentation of the award, the village board and those in attendance applauded and thanked Hecht for his efforts.
Ashley Halladay is a reporter for the New Richmond News.