Special thanks to the AJC for this story!
It was the longest eight minutes of his life, recalled Marietta High campus security officer Jeff Reed as he pushed on the student’s chest and kept air flowing to his lungs with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The boy had turned blue and collapsed on the gym floor last September, his heart no longer beating as the former Marine and Marietta Police Department officer was on hallway patrol. Reed’s training kicked in to keep the student alive until emergency response personnel could reach them.
“It seemed like 80 minutes,” said Reed, walking those same hallways recently, keeping watch at the 2,200-student high school. On his rounds, he sometimes sees the boy whose life he saved heading to class. The student’s name has not been released at his parents’ request.
Principal Leigh Colburn said she reached the gym about the time Reed bounded down the bleachers to the stricken student.
“What Jeff did, breathing for the student and keeping him oxygenated, was absolutely heroic,” the principal said. “Doctors at Emory said he would have been brain-damaged otherwise. Today, he’s doing just fine.”
For his quick action and cool response, Reed has been named Georgia Peace Officer of the Year for 2007 by the Peace Officers Association of Georgia.
Reed deflects the hero label.
“I don’t feel like one. It was the training,” he said. “I was just doing my job.”
Not every day brings such high drama. But this year, a new twist has been added to Reed’s Marietta High beat — a 2-year-old black lab named Blue with a nose for marijuana, methamphetamine and other drugs. The Dutch-trained narcotics detection dog can ferret illegal drugs out of lockers, bookbags and automobiles in the campus parking lot.
On Reed’s command in Dutch, Blue’s nose goes into overdrive.
Last year, Marietta High reported to the state 14 non-felony drug offenses, the first in three years. It has had no felony drug offenses since 2005 when there were four cases, according to the report. There were six felony weapons offenses last year — none of them guns, Reed said.
The 29-year-old Marietta police officer likes getting to know parents and students.
“Marietta still has a small-town feel,” said Reed, a Harrison High graduate who saw five years of Marine duty in Syria, Turkey and Bosnia before joining the Marietta police department in 2000.
The school district and city police department shared the $7,500 cost of the specially trained dog in August. When off-duty, Blue lives at Reed’s home in Kennesaw along with his wife, Amy, two children, Justin, 2, and William, 5 months, and two pet dogs.