A Prineville police officer is being heralded as a hero after saving a fellow officer’s life while both were attending the police academy in Salem. Officer Landen Nesbitt jumped into action as the classmate was choking on a piece of chicken.
“The incident that occurred happened in our cafeteria where all of the different academies go for lunch hour,” said Brie Murphy, Training Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards & Training.
“It was pure adrenaline,” said Nesbitt.
“It was just the middle of lunch. Everything going around. Chaotic in the cafeteria,” said Murphy.
“At first, I don’t even remember how fast it took me to get around the table,” said Nesbitt.
“Everyone was alerted to something’s off,” said Murphy.
“My other classmates thought that a fight was starting because they had no idea what was going on,” said Nesbitt.
“And everyone, being all first responders, were trying to do something,” said Murphy.
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“We were eating lunch after some training and there’s a group of us sitting at the end of the table and we’re all talking and laughing, talking about who knows what,” said Nesbitt. “And I was sitting down eating my soup and realized that one of my friends sitting across from me stopped engaging in the conversation. And so I looked at him and he had a look of fear or he just looked fearful. And so I asked him directly, I said, ‘Can you talk?’ And he just kind of shook his head and looked at me. And then I asked him, ‘Are you choking?’ And he did the international, you know, started grabbing his throat.”
“Landon was quick to jump up,” said Murphy.
“I just remember telling him to stand up, ran around the table. We were in our vest and everything, and I was able to get my hands under his vest and gave a couple of thrusts for the Heimlich,” said Nesbitt. “And I stopped and he kind of gave me a thumbs up and shook his head. But then he started gasping for air and wheezing. And another classmate, said, ‘Take his vest off.’ I just remember ripping his vest off real fast, getting another couple thrusts for the Heimlich. And then he was finally able to cough and started talking and was able to get it cleared.
“I was walking up with my tray to go sit down with the class and I saw this whole thing go down. Couple other coordinators also saw it and it was just quick. I think the whole thing took maybe a minute,” said Murphy.
“It was full adrenaline,” said Nesbitt. “I really didn’t think about anything until the second round of the Heimlich of where I’m like, okay, now I’m the tunnel vision’s gone and I know what I need to do. Just keep keep giving it to him until he can until he can breathe again.
“Landen’s quick response was just perfect timing, right place. And it just reminds you that officers are also still human and that we also still need help,” said Murphy.
“I was able to get something up or air enough to push it up and then he could swallow it. And once hearing him being able to talk and cough, it kind of settled everything back down,” said Nesbitt. “We eventually carried on and hadn’t finished our meals and went back to class.”
‘We did go right back to eating and back to life, which is reality for officers,” said Murphy. “It was it was a fantastic display of what we’re supposed to do.
“I think Landen has a good skill set and I think he’s going to have a fantastically long career and I look forward to watching him do more amazing things,” Murphy added.
“It’s surreal, but I’m glad the biggest thing out of it is I was able to help him and he was perfectly fine,” said Nesbitt.
Nesbitt was honored by the police academy and the City of Prineville for his quick thinking and action.
This is the second time he’s had to perform the Heimlich maneuver in his life. Before becoming a police officer, Nesbitt was in the Navy where he had the same scenario happen with a friend while eating on their ship. He successfully saved that friend’s life as well.