By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE – Cookeville Police Department (CPD) awarded Officer David Baker the Medal of Valor award at the Nov. 18 City Council Meeting. The officer was nominated for the award for his actions aiding the victim of a car crash on Ninth Street on Sept. 27.
Police Chief Randy Evans said that Baker’s actions in the incident have received national attention, and he has also been recognized by the Putnam County Commission for his actions.
Evans said that Baker is actually going to get two medals, the Medal of Valor and the Medal for Life Saving, but the Department ran out of the Medal for Life Saving and has it on order.
The Medal of Valor Commendation reads:
“On Sept. 27, 2021, at approximately 0027, Officer Baker was dispatched to 375 W. Ninth St. in reference to a motor vehicle crash with injury. Officer Baker was the first member of the Cookeville Police Department to arrive on the scene. He was soon joined by Paramedic Justin Remillard. Officer Baker immediately noticed one of the involved vehicles was on fire. The flames were growing larger, so he immediately retrieved his department issued fire extinguisher from his patrol vehicle. Both Officer Baker and Paramedic Remillard began using their fire extinguishers to extinguish the flames. During this process, they noticed the driver of the vehicle was still inside and unresponsive. Paramedic Remillard was able to open the driver’s door, despite the flames continuing to grow on the front half of the vehicle. Officer Baker gallantly reached into the vehicle and cut the driver’s seatbelt with a tool kept on his duty belt. Once the male driver was cut free from his seatbelt, Officer Baker pulled him out of the vehicle. Officer Baker continued to drag the male away from the nearly fully involved vehicle, until he was out of harm’s way.
“After the unresponsive male was pulled to safety, Officer Baker and Paramedic Remillard performed a medical evaluation. They came to the conclusion that the male appeared to have overdosed on some type of opioid. Officer Baker administered two 4mg doses of Naloxone which eventually brought the male back to consciousness. Due to Officer Baker’s selfless actions, the involved male made a full recovery. I applaud Officer Baker’s heroic actions which exemplify how a Cookeville Police Officer should act in a high stress situation.”
Evans said, “Due to Baker’s own actions, putting his life at risk, staying calm and relying on his training in a high stress situation, that gentleman is alive today.
Chief Evans shared that this officer has also only been with the CPD for around one year.
“I think the future looks bright for us (CPD), and the future looks bright for them as well,” said Evans.