PFPD honors 3 life-savers

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  • Post Falls Police honored officers Chris Christensen and Nathan Schrag and Sgt. Brian Harrison with Life Saving Awards. From left are: Chief Pat Knight, Capt. Jason Mealer, Christensen, Schrag and Harrison. (BRIAN WALKER/Press)

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    Post Falls police Officer Chris Christensen, far left, receives a Life Saving Award from Chief Pat Knight. In the middle is Capt. Jason Mealer. Other award recipients, Officer Nathan Schrag and Sgt. Brian Harrison, far right, look on. (BRIAN WALKER/Press)

  • Post Falls Police honored officers Chris Christensen and Nathan Schrag and Sgt. Brian Harrison with Life Saving Awards. From left are: Chief Pat Knight, Capt. Jason Mealer, Christensen, Schrag and Harrison. (BRIAN WALKER/Press)

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    Post Falls police Officer Chris Christensen, far left, receives a Life Saving Award from Chief Pat Knight. In the middle is Capt. Jason Mealer. Other award recipients, Officer Nathan Schrag and Sgt. Brian Harrison, far right, look on. (BRIAN WALKER/Press)

POST FALLS — Chris Christensen hoped he'd someday be called to a life-saving situation.

The Post Falls Police officer just never imagined it would be during his first week on the streets.

Christensen, Officer Nathan Schrag and Sgt. Brian Harrison were honored during a recent City Council meeting with Life Saving Awards for two separate incidents.

Christensen found a man who was reported to be having suicidal thoughts at the edge of a cliff in Q'emiln Park in May.

After several minutes of speaking with the man, Christensen convinced him to back away from the edge and officers placed him in protective custody.

"It sounded like he was going through a rough time, and I told him how much his family cared about him," Christensen said. "I said that this wasn't how his daughter would want her last memory of him.

"I'm not sure if I said the right thing or if it made sense to the guy, but I was happy with the outcome."

Christensen said responders and the family started to lose hope that the man would be located, but a family member spotted him running into the park.

"I just happened to see him out of the corner of my eye, hanging out behind a rock," he said.

Chief Pat Knight said Christensen provided the "voice of reason" during the tense moments.

"Without Officer Christensen's positive and professional intervention, it's possible that this situation would have ended differently," Knight said.

Harrison and Schrag received awards for their role in reviving a man on the Centennial Trail near the Falls Park Apartments in February.

Knight said the man's wife reported that her husband was dead and she was not sure where she was.

Harrison was the first responder to locate the two and started CPR. Schrag and Kootenai County Fire and Rescue personnel then arrived on scene to assist.

Knight said that without the rapid response and relentless CPR efforts, it's likely the man would not have survived.

"We were able to get a pulse back on scene," Harrison said.

Harrison said the wife recognized him from issuing her a ticket in the past.

"She had been less than thrilled to deal with me before, but later ended up giving me a giant hug," he said.

Harrison said it was the first time he helped save someone by performing CPR.

"My biggest motivation is to make a difference," he said. "What bigger difference can you make than to help save somebody's life?"

Knight said he's proud of his staff's actions.

"To see how the officers handled them with compassion, professionalism and a true heartfelt desire to help these individuals during a troubling and trying time shows you that they care about this community and those they serve," he said.

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