Riverside officer, public safety dispatcher receive Lifesaving Medal

Chief Larry Gonzalez, left, recognizes Officer Matthew Rhoades for saving the life of a 16-year-old teen in medical distress. Photo courtesy of the Riverside Police Department.

Chief Larry Gonzalez of the Riverside Police Department and members of his command staff recently presented the Lifesaving Medal to Officer Matthew Rhoades and Public Safety Dispatcher Olivia Santos. Rhoades and Santos were instrumental in reviving a 16-year-old teen in medical distress.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on July 8, 2020, the City of Riverside’s Public Safety Communications Center received a 911 call regarding a 16-year-old teen who was not breathing in his home in the La Sierra neighborhood.

 Dispatcher Olivia Santos is recognized for her efforts in helping to revive a teen in medical distress. Pictured, from left, are Deputy Chief Bruce Blomdahl, Dispatcher Olivia Santos, Captain Bryan Dailey, and Chief Larry Gonzalez. Photo courtesy of the Riverside Police Department.

Public Safety Dispatcher Olivia Santos answered the call and dispatched paramedics and officers. Santos instructed the teen’s mother on CPR until help arrived.

The teen was unconscious, not breathing, and did not have a pulse when Officer Rhoades arrived. He rushed into the house and began taking over CPR with the help of the teen’s mother. Rhoades performed chest compressions while the mother performed mouth to mouth resuscitation. Their efforts revived the teen shortly before paramedics arrived. 

The teen has fully recovered thanks to his mother, Dispatcher Santos, Officer Rhoades, and crews at Riverside Fire Station 12 and American Medical Response.

Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, a formal ceremony will be held to recognize Rhoades and Santos in front of their families and loved ones. To view their story on YouTube, click here.


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