OV officer honored for saving man's life

Ocean View Police Chief Kenneth McLaughlin presented OVPD Cpl. Kristen Miller with a Lifesaving Award at the town’s council meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 18, honoring extraordinary service that saved one resident’s life.

On Friday, Oct. 3, within three minutes of receiving a call, Miller arrived at a home in Bear Trap, responding to a report of an unconscious person. Miller brought with her an automatic external defibrillator (AED), with which all Ocean View patrol cars are equipped. She was greeted by Bear Trap resident Jeff Lanuza, a bystander who was first on the scene and had started to administer CPR to the victim, Lawrence Shugart. The AED determined Shugart had no heartbeat, and Miller used the AED to shock him while she performed CPR. Shugart was then transported to the hospital.

“A lifesaving award goes to any officer who performs any task that directly results in a life saved or an injury prevented,” said McLaughlin in presenting the award this week. “And I have an amendment to make to my original letter,” he added, speaking to town council members and citizens present for that evening’s meeting. “Not only did the victim survive, but he is here tonight.”

Shugart, whose heart had stopped that day, then posed with Miller and Lanuza, to a standing ovation.

“Without these two and my cardiologist, and all who nursed me back to help, I wouldn’t be here tonight,” he said. “My doctor said that only one out of 100 survive. All because of Jeff and Kristin and the AED. They saved my life. And I thank the chief for being prepared.”

Lanuza, a former Baltimore police officer, offered similar sentiments about the chief and the preparedness of the department. “I was on a 1,500-member squad, and not one was equipped with an AED,” he said.

McLaughlin said he was proud to offer his congratulations to Miller and to share the good news – and the accolades – with the people of Ocean View.

“Ninety-nine times out of 100 times, for emergency medical complaints, the police are first on the scene,” he said. “With quick thinking, this was a combined effort of the police department and the citizens.”