The Hermiston Police Department is giving special recognition to a pair of officers whose actions helped save a student’s life after a suicide attempt in November.
On Nov. 12, a local youth contacted Safe Oregon, a school safety tip line program implemented by the Oregon State Police. The youth reported receiving text messages from a friend, and in those messages the friend indicated his intent to commit suicide. The information was routed to the Hermiston Police Department.
Corporal Riley Studebaker and Officer Derrick Williams received the call and immediately responded to the friend’s house. They spoke with the friend’s father, who was shocked by the officer’s presence as he had no idea what was happening.
The officers rushed to the teen’s bedroom where they found him unconscious and not breathing, with a belt wrapped tightly around his neck. The officers removed the belt and began CPR. The teen began breathing on his own and was transported to the hospital by paramedics from Umatilla County Fire District 1. The teen has since made a full recovery, to include receiving the mental health services he needs.
Studebake has been with the Hermiston Police Department for almost four years. He is a U.S. Army veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the second time he’s been recognized with a lifesaving award.
Williams is the newest officer at the Hermiston Police Department. He’s been with us for five months, after serving three years as a police officer for the city of Umatilla.
Safe Oregon was created by the Oregon State Police in 2017 in partnership with local school districts, including the Hermiston School District. Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton chose Eastern Oregon for initial implementation of the program after the last legislative session.
Safe Oregon is a way for students, and other members of the public, to anonymously report or share confidential information of a threat or a potential threat to student safety. Trained staff are available 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year and can be reached through a phone call, text message, mobile application or website.
Safe Oregon accepts reports of anything that makes a student feel unsafe, including safety threats, violence or threats of violence, fights, drugs, alcohol, weapons, bullying and cyber bullying, threats of self-harm, harassment, or intimidation. Tips are promptly analyzed and routed to the most appropriate entity for follow-up. This may be to school officials, law enforcement, community mental health programs or other appropriate local or state agencies. Safe Oregon staff make sure follow-up is noted and recorded.
Safe Oregon can be reached by calling or texting 844-472-3367, through the website, or through the Safe Oregon mobile app, which is available on iTunes and Google Play.
“This case is just one example of the excellent work our officers do every day,” said Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston. “It also highlights the importance of the relationships we have with our partner agencies, in this case, the Oregon State Police, the Hermiston School District, and Umatilla County Fire District 1. It further demonstrates the importance of having an effective, responsive mental health system in our community, as our officers deal with people suffering with some form of mental health crisis every single day.”