The Polk County Police Department previously honored for being the Agency of the Year by the regional members of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for 2020, but officers within the department got another attaboy from the County Commission during their Monday night work session as well.
Already having been honored by the GOHS’s Mountain Area Traffic Enforcement Network, Officers Andy Anderson and Thomas Howard were also given praise from the County Commission in their role in saving a young man’s life during what could have been deadly storms on March 25, 2021 in the Lee’s Chapel Road area.
According to the commendation paid to both officers read by Commission Chair Hal Floyd, Anderson and Howard were on duty helping with emergency operations following the first round of storms that fateful Thursday when they were called to help with a real medical emergency. A 16-year-old who was helping clear debris in the area had cut himself on the right leg with the chainsaw in an accident and was bleeding badly.
Enough so to where Howard and Anderson sprang into action upon arriving where the boy was with his family, applying bandages and a tourniquet to his leg. EMS personnel told the pair on the scene that day that their actions likely save the boy’s life, Anderson later recounted.
The teen not only survived the accident that could have been fatal due to the loss of blood, but also saved his leg from needing amputation as well, the county’s commendation cited in praise of their heroic actions during what was at the time believed to be tornadic conditions coming through the area a second time.
The pair had just been honored by the GOHS for their work in individual awards. Howard was named the top law enforcement officer in the MNTEN region for speed enforcement. Anderson took a third place award for the occupant protection category.
Additionally, Anderson was praised by Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd for his recent work to secure funds for the county to purchase new laptops, a non-matching grant worth $25,000.
“Andy is always out there working to try and save the taxpayers money,” Dodd said.
The commission also praised the department for their Agency of the Year Award following the presentation of the commendation on Monday evening, along with following the regular session on Tuesday during commissioner comments. Several on the board praised the police department for not only their work during the storms in March, but in the past two days helping to ensure motorists aren’t driving through floodwaters by blocking off areas that aren’t safe.