UPDATE: The Polk County sheriff announced that he plans to shorten the sentences of the six inmates who saved one of his officer's life last week.
Sheriff Johnny Moats will take off one-fourth of the prisoners' sentences for their heroic actions when a deputy collapsed during work detail, NBC affiliate 11 Alive reports.
“Anytime we have a trustee or inmate crew, that goes beyond normal duties, we cut them some extra time off,” Moats said.
The unnamed deputy expressed his gratitude toward the men for jumping into action when he needed them.
“That moment when they’re out, they’re not really inmates to you,” the deputy said. “They're just a group of guys and you’re out. You try to be more like friends and in my case, it just worked out for the better.”
In addition to the shortened sentences, the inmates received a free lunch in their honor.
While the entire country was focused on the manhunt that ensued after two Georgia inmates fatally shot two correctional officers and escaped using a hijacked prison bus, six inmates in the same state deliberately forwent an excellent opportunity to flee when a correctional officer passed out on work detail.
The inmates were cutting grass at a cemetery near the prison in Polk County when the deputy sheriff, who remains anonymous, suddenly fainted and fell to the ground, according to Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats.
The prisoners could have stolen his gun and used the van to flee. However, all six of them rushed to help the guard. They removed his bulletproof vest to perform CPR and called 911 when they realized he had stopped breathing.
“They could have done anything they wanted,” Moats said. “They were out there by themselves with this one officer. If they would have left him there, it could have been hours before anyone came across him.”
The officer had collapsed due to the extreme humidity (it was 76 degrees outside) and a previous medical condition.
“They stayed right there with him,” Moats added. “If he didn’t have any help, I don’t know what would have happened to him. The inmates did a really good job. I’m extremely proud of them.”
The paramedics arrived shortly at the scene and treated the officer, who has since returned to work.
“As we watched the horrific manhunt this week of the two inmates that killed two correctional officers and were captured last night we all know that Monday could have ended differently for our officer,” The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “We are very proud of the actions of all six inmates.”
The family members of the deputy sheriff also thanked the inmates and treated them with pizza and dessert in a park.
“It wasn’t about who is in jail and who wasn’t,” one of the inmates, identified as Greg Williams, told WXIA. “It was about a man going down and we had to help him.”
It is incidents like these that remind us humanity is still alive in this cruel, brutal world.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters