Second Dickson SRO Helps Choking Child with Heimlich Maneuver

Photo from City of Dickson

A second School Resource Officer from the Dickson Police Department is being recognized for helping a choking student by performing the Heimlich maneuver.

Lt. Jessica Blackwell of the department’s Special Services Division reports SRO Jamie Patterson was able to dislodge a fruit candy from a fifth-grader’s throat after noticing he was in distress in the cafeteria at Oakmont Elementary School Wednesday, May 15.

Patterson reports he was in the cafeteria gathering chairs to prepare for the school’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) graduation shortly after 11:00 am May 15 when student Bryson Bagwell approached him and Teresa Shelton, one of the cafeteria monitors.

“Bryson seemed to be in a panic and was putting his hands around his neck,” Patterson reported. “Mrs. Teresa asked Bryson if he was OK and he still continued to act panicked, waving his hands around his neck area but not speaking.”

Patterson said the student appeared to be choking so he struck him several times in his upper back in an attempt to dislodge what was in his throat. Unsuccessful at that, Patterson began performing the Heimlich maneuver until the student was able to breathe and try to start speaking.

“Bryson started to tell me that he was seeing white lights and I had him sit down,” Patterson reports. “He was still coughing some so I had one of the students bring me his drink from the table.”

The officer contacted School Nurse Penny Arnold over the radio and she responded to the cafeteria to check on the student.

Patterson reported that Bryson coughed up a small piece of a Gusher, a chewy fruit candy with a liquid center. Nurse Arnold reported Bryson told others he was laughing and eating the candy when it got stuck in his throat, causing him to choke and hampering his breathing.

Patterson joined the Dickson Police Department in December 2018 after serving as a School Resource Officer and DARE instructor with the Erin Police Department in Houston County. He was assigned as an SRO when the city committed to having an officer in all six county schools located inside the city limits starting Jan. 8, 2019. He has served as an SRO at Dickson Elementary School, Sullivan Central Elementary School and Oakmont.

“We are so glad that once again one of our SROs was in a position to use his training to help a student who could have faced a life-threatening situation,” said Blackwell, who was one of the city’s first School Resource Officers and now directs the SRO program.

First-year SRO Tabitha Jennette was recently recognized for performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking student Feb. 20 at Centennial Elementary School.

The Dickson Police Department provides nine SROs for the six public schools located in the city, with one each at Centennial, Dickson and Oakmont elementary schools, The Discovery School and Dickson Middle School, two on the main campus of Dickson County High School, one at the DCHS 9th grade lower campus and a sergeant/investigator to supervise the program.

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