Jacksonville, FL – Intense bodycam footage captured the moment when a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) officer who didn’t know how to swim jumped into a retaining pond to save a drowning infant (video below).
The JSO released footage of the June 9 incident on Nov. 22 in recognition of the agency’s “#weekofthanks” leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The JSO said Officer Me’Atia Sanderson was working her regular patrol shift in Zone 4 Westside that summer day when the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) received a report of an infant drowning in a retention pond.
The pond was located at the Madelyn Oaks Apartments off of Lenox Avenue, WJXT reported.
Officer Sanderson was the first to arrive at the scene and immediately ran towards the pond.
She was quickly alerted about the drowning baby and was directed to the child’s location, bodycam footage showed.
“Ofc. Sanderson, who does not know how to swim herself, without a second’s hesitation, entered the pond to retrieve the child,” the JSO said.
Bodycam footage showed the heroic officer and a bystander as they pulled the unresponsive child out of the murky water.
The officer performed CPR on the baby on the grassy bank until additional officers arrived to help her, the JSO said.
“Come on, come on baby…” the officer repeatedly urged the infant in between delivering rescue breaths.
A resident who witnessed the rescue said the bystander who assisted Officer Sanderson was a maintenance worker at the apartment complex, WJXT reported.
“They were able to do, like, teamwork. She was able to give the baby to the maintenance guy and now she’s trying to help herself get out of there because she got on her safety gear, her duty belt, stuff like that,” the neighbor told the news outlet. “She did an amazing job doing what she could do.”
As a result of their quick and selfless actions, the baby survived.
“Captain Christopher Scott with JFRD authored a letter to JSO on behalf of Ofc. Sanderson recognizing the impact her ‘quick and decisive decision to go into the retention pond’ made,” the JSO said. “Her actions, while putting her own life at risk, undoubtedly saved the child’s life.”
“Police Officers across this country report to work each and everyday to protect and serve their communities,” the sheriff’s office continued. “They show up each day knowing they will be faced with unimaginable challenges and dangers; yet they do not know what those challenges or dangers will be or how they will present themselves.”
The JSO praised public servants like Officer Sanderson for the positive impact they make on their communities.
“As we continue our #weekofthanks, we at the #JSO are thankful that we have officers like Ofc. Sanderson, who day in and day out, take on the challenges and dangers of this job,” the sheriff’s office said.” Our community would not be what it is without them.”
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: