Police Officer Recognized for Lifesaving Acts of Compassion
Dec 07, 2015 02:45PM ● Published by Bryan Scott
By Cassandra Goff
Cottonwood-Holladay - The Cottonwood Heights City Council meeting held on Nov. 10 at city hall was nowhere near ordinary. Vicki Bagshaw, a police officer serving for Cottonwood Heights for about six months, was recognized for her going above and beyond services by Blanche Bills, a resident of Cottonwood Heights. Police Chief Robby Russo acknowledged her services as well.
Blanche Bills was involved in a serious car accident on Oct. 19. Recalling her experience, she described the scene. It was an average day, much like any other. She had been driving in Cottonwood Heights, and stopped at a red light on 1700 East Fort Union Boulevard. She looked in her rearview mirror as she stopped, verifying that everything was normal. As she patiently waited for the light to grant her permission to proceed, she became aware of an overwhelming feeling to look in her rearview again. That’s when she saw it -- a car headed straight towards her at full speed. She knew she was going to be hit and there was nothing she could do to prevent it. The next thing she could remember was waking up in the hospital.
The missing pieces of the story were put together after she regained consciousness. The driver had been busy looking for a cell phone charger when the accident occurred. Upon impact, Bills hit her chest and head against the steering wheel and was immediately knocked unconscious. “It was lights out” for her, Bills said.
Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Vicki Bagshaw paid immediate attention to the unconscious Blanche Bills behind the wheel. Officer Bagshaw did not leave when the paramedics arrived, but stayed by Bills’ side. She even accompanied her to the hospital to give the medical crew vital information that assisted in saving her life. Bagshaw was determined to stay with Bills until she knew for a fact that she was okay, which consisted of 10 hours in the hospital, waiting for her to awaken.
“She stayed with me until right before I was leaving the hospital,” Bills said. Bagshaw could have gone about her day like normal, but “she didn’t leave until she heard from me that I was okay.”
Bagshaw’s worry didn’t subside. After Bills returned home, Bagshaw visited her many times to check up on her. She would occasionally bring presents, including a Build-A-Bear dressed up that resembled Bills. It’s out of the ordinary to “have an officer care so much about you,” Bills said.
Blanche Bills recognized that she is still “here because of Officer Bagshaw” and is extremely grateful for her. She wanted to express her appreciation to Bagshaw, saying “I’ll be damned if this goes unrecognized,” she deserves recognition for the “good she does for the community.”
Two of the Bills’ four children participated at the meeting. They know Bagshaw’s quick thinking and beautiful handling of the situation is the reason they still have their mom today.
“Vicki is a hero in our household and a new member to our family,” Bills said.
As tears filled her eyes, Bills presented Bagshaw with a beautifully engraved glass vestige, saying “we had this made for you because we love you.” Before Bagshaw could step down, Robby Russo, Chief of Police for Cottonwood Heights told her not to go anywhere. He informed her that he knew another situation when Bagshaw had gone above and beyond the call of duty and wanted to share the story.
A call came in one day about a barking dog. Vicki Bagshaw was the officer to respond and she found the dog outside the home of a 94-year-old woman who had fallen but was still conscious. Once again, Bagshaw’s worry did not stop after the elderly woman received care. For three months after the call, she would visit the woman, almost daily, in her spare time. During her visits, they would read, sing and share stories of childhood. The woman passed away recently, at which time her son expressed his appreciation to Chief Russo. Bagshaw was unaware that her department knew about her regular visits to the elderly woman. Russo relayed the gratitude to Bagshaw while recognizing her selfless efforts.
“I’m very proud to call her one of ours,” Russo said.
After Chief Russo had finished, Mayor Cullimore expressed his appreciation to Officer Bagshaw for “going the extra mile”. He wanted to extend the “recognition to the whole crew,”saying how much “we appreciate them.” Proud of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department -- he said that it is unfortunate that it is “the ones who make mistakes that get recognized” instead of the “ones who go above and beyond and don’t get recognition.” He thanked Bagshaw and her crew, who were showing support in the back of the room, for their service.
Bagshaw turned to leave through an audience of fellow officers, Cottonwood Heights residents, media reporters, city workers, boy scouts and Bills’ family, seated in the city hall chamber. She received one more surprise as every individual in the room rose to give her a standing ovation with tears in their eyes.