By Melinda Johnston, from The Charlotte Observer
There were questions about the $2,400 per unit price in 2004 when the Mint Hill Police Department began raising money for Automatic External Defibrillators.
The thinking was that, since police may be first to respond to emergencies, they could begin CPR and hook up the AED if necessary.
An AED is an electronic device that gives an electric shock to the heart to help reestablish contraction rhythms in a person experiencing cardiac arrest.
The Mint Hill Police Department was one of the first in the region to have AEDs for all 12 patrol cars. Officials believed one day they would save a life.
That day has come.
On Feb. 1, Bill Williamson was brought back to life in his front yard by two Mint Hill police officers and the eight-pound, battery powered electronic device that normally rides in the trunk.
Williamson, 63, who had open-heart surgery in March 2010, had called officers to his home after he spotted two pit bulls in his pasture. Just days earlier, the dogs had attacked his 32-year-old horse, Joker, and left her with severe lacerations.
Now the dogs were back.
When officers arrived at his home off Dan Hood Road, the dogs were nowhere in sight so there was nothing they could do. As they were leaving his property, they heard gunshots and turned their cars toward the house.
They found that Williamson's sons had fired rifles in the air to ward off the dogs, and they found Williamson on the ground, unresponsive.
Sgt. Daniel Forster alerted emergency medical services while Officer Keith Mickovic hooked up the AED and started CPR. Going through a series of diagnostic tests, the AED determined that Williamson's heart had stopped. It then took the officers through the prompts necessary to deliver the shock.
By the time EMS arrived, Williamson's heart was beating again.
After two days in the hospital, he was back home, ready to resume his life.
Mickovic said Mint Hill Police Chief Tim Ledford deserves credit.
"I credit Chief Ledford and his training mindset. He believes in providing his officers with as much training as possible to help us do our jobs more effectively," Mickovic said.