BHCC Police Officers Receive Life Saving Medal
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Honor recognizes their service in saving man who fell onto tracks at Community College Station
Visitors to the BHCC campuses in Chelsea and Charlestown have likely encountered members of the Bunker Hill Community College Police Department—whether walking through the lobby in Chelsea or across the main entry plaza into B-Building where the department’s headquarters sits, the BHCC Police Department’s presence is an unmistakable reflection of their mission: to protect and serve the college community and all those who come to our campuses.
But at any open urban campus, the line between city and college can blur, and at Bunker Hill’s Charlestown campus, located adjacent to a busy train station and neighborhood, the department’s officers are sometimes needed beyond the walls of the College.
On January 31, earlier this year, two Bunker Hill Community College Police Officers were found themselves in just that situation: reports of a man who had fallen onto the Orange Line tracks at Community College Station. Officers Keith Letourneau and Azam Khan responded to the station and found a man face down on the tracks, unconscious and bleeding from the head.
While trains approaching the Orange Line station had stopped, the third rail, which carries more than 600 volts of electricity, was still active. Nevertheless, officers Letourneau and Khan lowered themselves onto the tracks to assess the man and render assistance. Officer Letourneau quickly diagnosed a possible opiate overdose and administered Narcan, a medicine that can inhibit the effects of an overdose, while Officer Khan administered first aid to the man’s head wound.
Chief of Police Robert Barrows wrote in his commendation of the officers: “Over the long minutes that they waited for other assisting agencies to arrive, Officers Khan and Letourneau administered sternum rubs, shouts and a second dose of Narcan while constantly monitoring the vitals of their patient and relaying that to approaching agencies. Their actions were what has come to be expected by those in this department and they handled themselves with poise and professionalism while placing their own safety in danger to aid another.”
In August, following a period of due diligence that thoroughly documented and confirmed the events of January 31, officers Letourneau and Khan were awarded the Life Saving Medal, an award given to any person or persons saving a person's life or making a valiant effort to do so. The medal—which is signified by a gold bar worn on the chest of the uniform—may be worn by the officers in recognition of their exemplary service. Letourneau has about four years of service with the BHCC Police Department, and Khan joined the department just over a year ago.
“I am proud to award Officers Letourneau and Khan the Life Saving Medal in recognition of their exemplary actions in saving a person’s life at the risk of their own,” said Chief Barrows. “And beyond the life they saved, their actions affirm our department’s commitment to serving the community both on and beyond the BHCC campus.”
This is our job,” said Barrows. “We'd do it again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. Our oath is to protect and serve."