Two Pickerington police officers recently received the department's first citations of merit after being credited with saving a life.

Two Pickerington police officers recently received the department's first citations of merit after being credited with saving a life.

On March 17, officer Dean Brown was working his regular second shift when a call came in from a distressed woman who was locked out of her Pickerington Ridge apartment.

In addition to being unable to access her home, the woman could see her teenage son slumped over on a chair inside. He was unresponsive to her knocks and calls.

Brown -- who happened to be at the Pickerington Police Department, which neighbors the Pickerington Ridge complex -- sprang into action by responding to the scene and kicking in the apartment door.

Once inside, he attempted to assist the boy by using his automated external defibrillator and found there was no pulse. While a call was made to the Violet Township Fire Department and its medic unit, Brown immediately began to administer CPR.

In less than five minutes, Brown was joined by officer James Gallagher, who heads the police department's canine unit.

Gallagher quickly began to try to breathe life into the boy while Brown continued administering chest compressions.

Their actions, according to Pickerington Police Chief Mike Taylor, saved the boy, who reportedly had a bad reaction to medication.

It also earned the officers Taylor's first issuance of the Citation of Merit, an award given for exemplary work above and beyond the call of duty.

"Without a doubt, they saved his life," Taylor said. "He didn't have a pulse, so he was dying.

"It was their training and quick thinking that saved his life."

In addition to the citations, Brown and Gallagher on April 19 were presented with ribbons to wear on their uniforms from Taylor, and with certificates of recognition from Pickerington Mayor Mitch O'Brien.

O'Brien said Brown and Gallagher's "professionalism and dedication to the service and protection of the public is reflected in this honor and serves as an example of the Pickerington Police Department's commitment to the community."

According to the officers, what they did was more reaction than anything else.

Brown, a 21-year veteran of the department's patrol unit, said he and his colleagues are trained specifically to deal with life-and-death moments like the one that unfolded that day.

"Basically, all the training kicked in," he said. "There wasn't time to think, just do."

Gallagher agreed, saying his annual CPR training had prepared him to act.

"It was sort of an involuntary reaction," he said.

Since the incident, the boy involved has recovered and has been in contact with Brown.

As for the citations of merit, both officers said they were surprised to receive them but appreciated the recognition. Previously, the only similar honor granted by the department was a Medal of Valor, which hadn't been given by a Pickerington police chief for more 28 years.

"It's definitely a good feeling," Gallagher said. "We were close and I'm glad we were able to do something there."

Brown said he never envisioned receiving the award.

"(Chief Taylor) had the medallion and I was speechless," Brown said. "It's pretty exciting."