4 Tampa Police Officers Honored for Rescuing Overheated Baby From Stolen Car
Four police officers in Florida were honored for a rescue effort that occurred last summer when they saved a baby who was found overheated in a stolen car.
According to a news release from the Tampa Police Department, four police officers, Steven Zawacki, Martin Pollak, Anthony Hardesty, and Landon Harsin, were rewarded by the department last week at the inaugural Tampa PD First Quarter Awards Ceremony.
The officers were recognized for rescuing a baby left behind in a stolen 2011 Kia Optima in Tampa. On Aug. 5, 2022, the child’s mother called the police to notify them that she got out of the vehicle for a brief time and left the 11-month-old baby in the car. When she came back, the car had been stolen. The call was made from an apartment complex on the 2500 block of Siesta Court.
The four police officers began searching the area for the vehicle while informing other officers in the vicinity. Approximately 30 minutes after starting the search, one of the officers noticed the Kia Optima about a half mile from the original location at the intersection of N Jamaica Street and W Wilder Avenue. Two police officers climbed over the fence and cautiously approached the car, opening the back door where they discovered the baby in an overheated state.
The car was off, but the baby was in the heated vehicle. The officers removed the baby from the car, placed her in their patrol car, and sat her in the front seat. They applied cool compresses on her head and body to help decrease her temperature. The baby was then taken to a local hospital, where she was treated. She was reunited with her mother and made a full recovery.
Medical professionals stated that the child may have died if not for the quick actions of the police officers.
The four officers were awarded a Life Saving Award.
The rescue was captured on body cam video and can be viewed below.