Ogas gets fourth ‘Life-Saver’ award

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Ogas gets fourth ‘Life-Saver’ awardBetween his swearing into the Ridgecrest Police Department as an officer on July 2018 and now, Michael Ogas’ decisive actions have saved the lives of four people.

“I don’t know if this has ever happened in our department before — not with one officer in the space of a year,” said RPD Chief Jed McLaughlin. “He’s a life-saving machine!”

McLaughlin addressed the Ridgecrest City Council at its Wednesday meeting to share the most recent act of heroism. In July a victim reportedly suffered a self-inflicted injury from an accidental shotgun blast.

Ogas was among the officers dispatched to a home on Florence Street. His background as a paramedic helped him determine the severity of the wound, which appeared to be a severed femoral artery.

“Because of the location of the injury, it was extremely difficult to stop the bleeding,” McLaughlin said in a later interview. “Ogas actually had to use his whole body weight to apply the amount of pressure needed to stop the bleeding. Bear in mind the subject was in extreme pain, screaming through this ordeal.”

McLaughlin said that while researching the seriousness of the wound, he called a physician to get a better understanding of the situation. Because the heart pumps about five liters of blood per minute, victims have very little time before such a wound is fatal.

Ogas entered RPD as a community service officer in October 2017, said McLaughlin.

“Both he and Jason Arnold came to us from Liberty Ambulance, and their medical knowledge and skills have been a huge asset to our department,” said the chief.

He added that Liberty also helped outfit RPD with automated external defibrillators. “Having the right knowledge and the right equipment is a huge advantage to our department.”

There are a couple of officers jockeying for top life-savers, joked McLaughlin. “Matt Rowland has either four or five now.”

McLaughlin said that he gives out life-saver awards almost every council meeting these days.

“Those are proud moments for me, because it shows the dedication of our officers to this community. When they arrive on the scene, they are not waiting for someone else to take action.”

He noted that just a few weeks ago, two officers, along with two private citizens, were acknowledged for rushing into a burning building to rescue a wheelchair- bound man from being burned alive. All four were honored last month.

“There are no words to describe that kind of bravery,” said McLaughlin.

Where does that come from? “I don’t know. For myself I can’t tell you the reasons I took this job, I just know it’s a calling. I think that’s true for most of us.”

Pictured: Officer Michael Ogas (pictured with wife, Wilma, and daughter) accepts his latest award. — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2019-10-04