By Ian Parkinson

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff 

I am proud of all those who work here at the Sheriff’s Office. Many times, the good work they do often goes unnoticed by the public. And that’s fine; we aren’t in this profession for the praise. But even so, in this column, I wanted to let you know about some of those folks who are being recognized for their selfless acts of courage, bravery, and lifesaving skills. We recently held an awards ceremony to honor those people who have gone above and beyond. 

Let me start with the lifesaving awards. We handed out several of these awards to correctional deputies for incidents involving inmates. In several of these cases, the correctional deputies were able to save the life of an inmate who had sadly tried to commit suicide in the jail. We also had a number of cases where an inmate had ingested illegal narcotics in their jail cell and overdosed. 


If it weren’t for the quick actions of jail personnel, these inmates almost certainly would have died. Whether it was providing emergency aid, performing CPR or administering Narcan to reverse the effects of the overdose, correctional deputies were able to save many lives in the jail. One of our correctional deputies was able to save the life of an inmate by performing the Heimlich maneuver on an inmate who was choking on a piece of food. Correctional deputies are trained for just these types of emergencies. The goal is the overall health and safety of those who are in our custody as well as those who work in the jail.

We also handed out Distinguished Service Medals. Let me tell you of one such incident which showed our deputies going above and beyond the call of duty. In the early hours of December 28, 2023, dispatch received reports of a vehicular pursuit initiated by Pismo Beach Police that ended in Avila Beach, which is in the Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction. The suspect in this case jumped out of his car and broke into a hotel room in Avila Beach. The suspect entered the room and told the three occupants of the room they could not leave. This was a rapidly evolving situation that began to turn into a worst-case scenario of an armed subject with multiple hostages. The first deputies to arrive on scene began by trying to locate the room. By this time, the suspect was now declaring that the occupants of the room were now his hostages. 

The deputies were able to make their way into the room and confronted the suspect who had a large shard of glass in his hand. The suspect began to stab himself in the neck. To avoid the suspect harming the hostages, one deputy took immediate action and pushed the suspect against a wall and onto the ground. The suspect was immediately taken into custody. No hostages were hurt. And no deputies were injured in this encounter. The main goal of a hostage situation is to ensure the safety of the hostages and that is exactly what happened with the quick response of the deputies. 

These are but a few instances of the exemplary work of our deputies. It’s work that often goes unnoticed by the public. But I thought you should know. And that’s why we hold awards ceremonies like this. I am indeed proud of all those we honored. I hope you are too.  


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