Updated: Feb 1, 2020
By Joe Johnson
The Athens-Clarke County Police Department this week honored two of its own as employees of the year for 2019.
One of the employees figured in awards for both sworn and civilian employees of the year for going above and beyond and using ingenuity during emergency situations.
The sworn officer of the year is Officer Brooke Minchew, who helped to save a woman’s life.
On the evening of August 5, Minchew overheard that a police unit was being dispatched to a single-vehicle accident on Cleveland Road. Knowing that she was closer to the incident location, Minchew “keyed up and advised that she would jump the call in order to get there sooner,” according to the letter nominating her for the award.
“As Officer Minchew arrived on scene she became immediately aware that this was a far worse accident than dispatched,” the letter stated.
While surveying the accident scene in pouring rain, Minchew noticed a woman lying in a ditch about 20 feet from the roadway.
“The woman was face down in a puddle and had apparent severe head injuries,” the nominating letter stated. “Without wasting any time, Officer Minchew notified central that EMS and Fire were needed ASAP and that she was going to be busy helping a patient needing immediate assistance.
“Officer Minchew ran down the ditch through ankle-deep water and began to support the woman’s head so that she would not drown. The woman begged Officer Minchew to not leave her side, to which Minchew explained countless times that she was there to help,” the nomination stated.
“As other officers and medical professionals were en route, Officer Minchew stayed by the woman’s side keeping her awake and talking. Multiple times the woman seemed to begin to lose consciousness, but Minchew kept her alert and calm.
“Officer Minchew comforted the woman while kneeling in water for roughly fifteen minutes until EMS arrived on scene to take over,” the nomination stated.
While providing assistance to the victim, Minchew was able to notify officers on the scene key details regarding who was driving the vehicle and their possible location. As a result, “other officers were able to locate and arrest the driver responsible who was hiding in the woods and, most importantly, ensure that that the woman involved in the accident received the medical care she desperately needed.
“On that evening Officer Minchew went above and beyond her call to duty,” the nominating letter stated.
Three months later, on Aug. 2, Communications Officer Adam Hus was working PD West radio when Minchew was on site of an unknown problem involvong a female who had a hearing impairment. The female was unable to effectively communicate with the officer as to the nature of the problem. When Minchew became aware of Hus's ability to use American Sign Language, Minchew sent a message asking Hus if he could Facetime with her to assist with communicating with the caller.
Hus agreed and used an iPhone to Facetime call Ofc Minchew’s cellphone.
“He patiently and effectively communicated with the caller and the issue was discovered and the officer was able to move forward with the resolution of the situation,” the nominating letter stated. “C.O. Hus' willingness to assist and his very knowledge of ASL is to be commended and he is hereby nominated…”