Cookeville Police Officer Charlotte Austin was named Police Officer of the Year from the TN Association of Chiefs of Police for her actions while saving an infant child.
Austin said serving to her is more than about stopping crime. It is about keeping individuals in her community safe.
“You have on the one hand we are trying to stop crime and intervene in criminal situations,” Austin said. “But, you also have just the humanitarian approach where we are all humans. We are just trying to help each other out. I go out of my way to try and make sure that people are okay every time I have contact with them.”
In 2019, officer Austin responded to choking call. On arrival, Austin found an infant with something lodged in its throat and started to deliver blows to the back to clear the airway. After failed attempts, Austin resorted to CPR to keep the infant alive until emergency services arrived. Thanks to the quick response the child survived.
“It means a lot,” Austin said. “That my peers and the chiefs throughout the state felt it necessary to decide I was the winner for that award for the entire state. It really meant a lot to me and my family.”
Guidry said the public recognition coming from the award has been new for her, but has been valued greatly.
“I am not used to having people congratulate me constantly and things like that,” Austin said. “It certainly appreciated. It is not uncomfortable. It is just new to me to have that feeling.”