Editor's Note: The Chronicle first shared details about St. Helens Police Officer Adam Hartless receiving the department's Life Saving Award on April 2.
Hartless wasn't immediately available for comment until this past week. The following story update includes comments from the officer.
The St. Helens Police Department has presented Officer Adam Hartless its Life Saving Award for his successful efforts in saving an individual’s life while on duty.
The award is one of the highest honors that a St. Helens police officer can earn.
The incident unfolded at approximately 5 a.m. Monday, February 8, 2021, as St. Helens officers responded to a call for medical assistance. Hartless arrived on scene prior to emergency medical personnel. Inside the house, he found a 46-year-old male.
“He was slumped over on the couch and he was not breathing,” Hartless told The Chronicle. “I could not feel a pulse.”
Hartless said in such an emergency, time is critical, so the officer immediately began administering chest compressions as part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) needed to try to save the victim’s life.
“The most important thing is to keep the heart pumping and getting the blood pumping to the brain,” Hartless said. “My partner, Officer Terry Massey, arrived shortly after I had begun the CPR. He helped me move the man to floor to allow better compressions.”
Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputy Gerhard Fiebich also arrived on the scene of the emergency carrying with him a portable automated defibrillator that the officers used to give the man a shock to help restart his heart.
“That is the first time I had delivered a shock during a CPR event and I thought it would give him a better chance to survive,” Hartless said.
Hartless continued to perform CPR for approximately six minutes until a Columbia River Fire & Rescue (CRFR) EMS crew arrived and took over medical response. The male became conscious shortly after and was transported to a Portland-area hospital where he survived.
“It was pretty amazing to see that he was breathing on his own as the EMS crew took him out of the house,” Hartless said. “I didn’t find out his full condition until about a week later.”
CRFR credited Hartless with directly saving the individual’s life.
“Had it not been for Hartless’ quick response and immediate performance of CPR, the individual would likely not have survived,” according to a release from the St. Helens Police Department.
In receiving the Life Saving Award, Hartless said he was grateful.
“I never know what to say but I am definitely grateful,” he said. “Anyone at our department would have done the same thing. The same with the deputies and EMS. We are lucky to be in a place were we have such good law enforcement, medical and fire personnel.”
Hartless was hired by the St. Helens Police Department in April 2017 as a code enforcement officer. He was promoted to patrol officer in September 2018. Prior to working at St. Helens, Hartless served as a cadet with the Portland Police Bureau and was a bicycle officer with Portland Patrol, Inc.
Hartless received the award during a presentation April 2.