City Council honors RPD employees

City Council honors RPD employeesPictured: From left are Mayor Pro Tem Mike Mower, City Manager Ron Strand, Mayor Peggy Breeden, Capt. Ryan Marrone, Councilmembers Martin Wallace and Lindsey Stephens and Vice Mayor Eddie Thomas, lifesavers Officers Hector Gomez and Santiago Estrada, Dispatcher Karleen Moran, Officers Jose Barragan and Eric Clinton and retiree Sgt. Ron Bell. — Photo by Laura Austin



News Review Staff Writer

The Ridgecrest City Council took time at the beginning of its Wednesday meeting to honor several members of the Ridgecrest Police Department. In addition to recognition of Sgt. Ron Bell upon his retirement, multiple members were honored with life-saving awards.

“I have the great pleasure of presenting my friend, Ron Bell, with a plaque this evening,” began City Manager and former Police Chief Ron Strand. “I’m glad you’ve made your 30 years — you’ve earned it.”

Bell was sworn in with the RPD 30 years ago shortly after graduating from the Clark Training Center basic academy in Riverside. After a few years, he transferred to California City for many years where he rose to the rank of lieutenant before returning to Ridgecrest.

“We were fortunate to get him back,” said Strand. “He was my utility guy. He worked every assignment in the department over the last six years. Traffic, patrol, detectives, you name it — he worked it for us.”

“I had a really interesting emotion as I came over here,” said Bell. “When I first swore in as a police officer...I put that shield on and felt its weight. I’ve never had that feeling before. As we were coming over here, I had that same feeling of the weight of that shield on my chest.

“Only those wearing the uniform will know what it’s like to be peace officer. You can read all kinds of books, you can watch TV, you can watch movies, but you really don’t know what it’s like until you put that shield on.”

Bell thanked God, his family and his fellow officers for their support during his service. “You cannot do it without these partnerships.”

After Bell received his crystal plaque, Capt. Ryan Marrone introduced a several members of the force who through quick, decisive action, contributed to saving local lives.

On Nov. 27 last year, Officers Jose Barragan and Hector Gomez responded to a call of a man who was not breathing and had no discernible pulse. Barragan and Gomez employed an automated external defibrillator and performed CPR on the subject, maintaining a pulse before he was transported to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital.

“Due to the officers’ calm demeanor, fluid teamwork and quick action, a life was saved,” said Marrone.

Officer Eric Clinton was also honored for his actions on Dec. 20 when he was dispatched to a residence where a child found his infant sibling, unresponsive, in the pool. Upon arrival Clinton discovered that the mother had resuscitated the baby, but Clinton noticed that the baby was aspirating and probably still had fluid in its lungs.

Clinton positioned the baby downward, helping to clear the airway, while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

“According to the doctor, Officer Clinton helped save the baby’s life by his actions and prevented further injury to the child,” said Marrone.

On Jan. 9, RPD Dispatcher Karleen Moran received a 911 call from a resident saying her sick uncle was having difficulty breathing and his skin looked yellow.

While on the call, Moran quickly dispatched Officer Santiago Estrada to the scene. Upon arrival he found the subject had stopped breathing and had no pulse.

Estrada immediately began CPR until paramedics arrived. He continued to assess Emergency Medical Services with CPR cycles until the subject was stabilized and transported.

“Without Dispatch Moran’s quick recognition of the gravity of the situation and Officer Estrada’s actions, the subject would not likely have made it to the hospital,” said Marrone.

Story First Published: 2018-02-23