WENATCHEE, Wash. - Two off-duty law enforcement officers are being hailed heroes after acting quickly to save a child from the Wenatchee River on Sunday.
According to the Kent Police Department, Detective Gilchrist and King County Sheriff's Deputy Johnson were vacationing near the Wenatchee River over the weekend.
Sunday afternoon a child, believed to be about five years old, seemed to be "in a panic" as they were floating in the swiftly-moving and frigid water downstream. Both officers didn't hesitate to jump in the river, making their way to the child and fighting the current to pull them up to the shore.
Kent PD included an onlooker's description of the officers' actions:
"They calmed the panicking child in the middle of the rapidly flowing river for a few minutes, fighting the current and swimming to the shore until the father arrived. The river was moving at such a swift pace I have no doubt that without decisive action, quick thinking, and lack of hesitation these two men showed, while others stood by and watched, the child would have been swept away and ultimately drowned. The actions of both of these men deserve to be recognized and commended as they reflect greatly upon not only their own personal character, but that of the departments that employ them."
The department says Detective Gilchrist will be receiving a KPD Life-Saving award following his vacation.
"We are thankful that even when off-duty, our officers regularly show the best character, the bravest actions, and a compassion for those in need," KPD wrote. "This near tragedy was averted by their selfless character leading to swift actions; their character is why they became police officers in the first place."