THE DALLES — Officer Kris Wood of The Dalles Police Department has received a letter of commendation based on the bravery and dedication to duty reflected in his actions taken the night of Thursday, April 15.
At approximately 10:45 p.m. that evening, emergency responders were dispatched to The Dalles Bridge on a report that a person had jumped from the bridge.
According to a press release from The Dalles City Police, multiple agencies worked to coordinate a search of the bridge and the shorelines of the Columbia River. The temperatures were in the low 50s, and it was dark and windy.
After approximately 45 minutes, Officer Wood with The Dalles Police heard what he believed was a woman calling for help from the Oregon shoreline from the area near the Lone Pine development. There was still confusion on the location of the woman and Officer Wood felt he needed to act urgently to find her, said the press release.
“As Officer Wood drove to the far west end of the Lone Pine development, he walked down a small, uneven path and heard a woman calling for help. Officer Wood encouraged her to keep yelling so that he could find her exact location and reach her to help.
“Officer Wood located the woman, who was about 20 feet from the riverbank, sitting on a rock shelf. The woman was distraught and was unable to move due to exhaustion and being in danger of hypothermia. Officer Wood continued to encourage the woman to stay where she was and assured her that he was there to help her. Officer Wood then waded out into the river and was able to safely bring the woman back to shore by carrying her over his shoulder because she could not walk on her own,” said the press release.
The Dalles Police Chief Tom Worthy believes that Officer Wood’s judgment and instinct in this case is the only reason the woman was rescued with relatively minor injury. The woman’s body temperature was “extremely low” at the hospital and permanent damage or death could have occurred with the further passage of time, said the press release. The incident was captured on Officer Wood’s body camera and the audio recording leaves no doubt that the woman was distressed, confused and pleading for help.
“Officer Wood exemplified The Dalles Police Department’s devotion to life safety and compassion through his actions in this case,” said a press release. “His quick action was critical to the woman’s recovery and undoubtedly saved her life after she jumped from The Dalles Bridge.”