UPDATE ― Jun. 22: A Georgia sheriff is rewarding the inmates who saved their prison guard’s life with something extra special: Shortened sentences for each of them.
“Anytime we have a trustee or inmate crew, that goes beyond normal duties, we cut them some extra time off,” Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats told WXIA on Wednesday,
Each inmate will have his sentence reduced by about 25 percent.
When a Georgia deputy suddenly collapsed while on duty, the six inmates he had been supervising could have made a run for it. But they chose instead to save the officer’s life.
The group of inmates were out on a work detail last Monday in a remote area of Polk County when their supervising officer, who has not been identified, suddenly fell face-first on the ground, WXIA-TV reports.
Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats said the inmates could have easily taken the officer’s gun at that point and escaped in his van.
“They could have done anything they wanted,” Moats told Time. “They were out there by themselves with this one officer. If they would have left him there, it could have been hours before anyone came across him.”
Instead, the inmates rushed to revive the deputy. The group opened the officer’s shirt and removed his bulletproof vest to keep him cool. The humidity that morning had reportedly reached 100 percent.
The inmates also used the officer’s phone to call 911. Emergency medical services soon arrived on the scene.
The inmates have been credited with helping to save the officer’s life. The deputy, who’s believed to have collapsed due to the humidity and a previous medical condition, has reportedly recovered and is now back at work,
“They stayed right there with him,” Moats told Time. “If he didn’t have any help, I don’t know what would have happened to him.”
The sheriff’s office said the incident was especially meaningful given that Georgia prison guards Christopher Monica and Curtis Billue were killed on June 13, allegedly by two inmates escaping a prison bus.
“As we watched the horrific manhunt this week of the two inmates that killed two correctional officers, we all know that Monday could have ended differently for our officer,” wrote the sheriff’s office in a since-removed Facebook post.
But the inmates involved in the officer’s rescue, all of whom all serving sentences for minor criminal offences, said there was never any question of the path of action they would take.
“When that happened, in my opinion, it wasn’t about who is in jail and who wasn’t,” inmate Greg WIlliams told WXIA. “It was about a man going down, and we had to help him.”
As a token of gratitude, the officer’s family prepared lunch and desserts for the inmates last week, WSB-TV reported.
“The inmates did a really good job. I’m extremely proud of them,” Moats said.
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