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Life Saving Incident

January 14, 2023
San Diego County
San Diego

January 14, 2023, was one of the rainiest days in San Diego history. At approximately 5:30 p.m. Paul Fillion’s 14-year-old brother Robert became trapped in a drainage ditch with rapidly rising water. Recognizing the immediate danger to his brother, Paul immediately jumped into the rushing water to prevent Robert from being forcefully pulled under. Sergeant Pickard and Officer Francesca Taleghani, Officer Juan Gutierrez and Officer Ian McNett responded to the call. After slipping past a locked fence and sprinting 300 yards in the dark they located Robert submerged in water up to his neck only being held up by Paul. Paul, dressed only in swim trunks, remained in the freezing water until officers took over. Without regard for their personal safety and no formal swift water rescue training, Officers Taleghani and Gutierrez jumped into the freezing water to take over. With rope in hand, Officer McNett jumped into the water to secure Robert as Sergeant Pickard held onto the other end. After 10 minutes, the rising water and suction of the storm drain began to take a toll. As Sergeant Pickard was losing his grip on the rope, Officer Gutierrez located a tree to tie the rope around which prevented Robert from going under. Meanwhile, Officer Taleghani was in the freezing water with Officer McNett trying to talk to Robert as the young man was losing consciousness. Officer McNett had a piece of garden hose with him and explained to Robert how to use it as a snorkel in case he became submerged. Robert was ultimately in the water between 45-50 minutes before being rescued by San Diego Fire - Rescue personnel. Robert was admitted to the hospital suffering from extreme hypothermia but recovered from his injuries. His brother Paul was uninjured. For exceptional bravery Sergeant Pickard, Officer Taleghani, Officer Gutierrez and Officer McNett were awarded the San Diego Police Department’s Lifesaving Medal. • As this story involves juveniles, their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

The history of law enforcement in the United States is a long and wonderful history of bravery. This website is dedicated to documenting the heroic deeds of law enforcement officers throughout the United States who have either given or risked their lives to save others. There are many stories of bravery and heroism for many who are considered first responders. However, it is those in law enforcement who are most likely to be the first to arrive upon a location requiring life saving acts engaging dangerous hostage takers, running into burning buildings/vehicles, providing first aid to seriously injured victims, saving near drowning victims and much more are what the women and men of law enforcement do routinely and at many times, great peril to their own safety.
It is our mission to document the history of lives saved by those dedicated women and men in law enforcement. To share with others the dramatic deeds of those individuals who are the first, first responders. It is so important for our citizens to understand that law "enforcement" is not always about enforcing the law but rather being there when our citizens need us.
It is to this end we are dedicated to promoting documentation regarding the history of law enforcement and the lives they have saved.