NEWS RELEASE 23-067 - NOVEMBER 16, 2023
Left to right: Corrections Sergeant John Darling, Corrections Deputy Susanna Shacklett, and Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman; Court Services Deputy Shawn Coughlan and Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman;
Deputy Holly Forrester and Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman; Deputies Austin O’Koren and Angelo Akyan and Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman.
Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman presented six Life Saving Awards at a ceremony on Wednesday.
Corrections Sergeant John Darling and Corrections Deputy Susanna Shacklett received the Life Saving Award for their actions regarding an inmate who attempted suicide. Hearing screams in a cell block, Deputy Shacklett responded and found an inmate hanging by a sheet in the showers. Deputy Shacklett radioed for assistance and then initiated lifesaving measures. Sergeant Darling arrived, and the two were able to work together to cut the sheet and lower the inmate to the floor. Sergeant Darling started chest compressions while Deputy Shacklett administered breaths. After two cycles of CPR, the inmate gasped for air. CPR was continued until additional assistance arrived, assumed lifesaving measures, then took the inmate to Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) for evaluation and treatment. The quick reactions, training, and calm demeanor of Deputy Shacklett and Sergeant Darling successfully saved a life.
Deputy Shawn Coughlan received the Life Saving Award for his quick action while off-duty. While at Manasota Beach, Deputy Coughlan observed two scuba divers pulling a third from the water who appeared to need medical aid. Coughlan began to assess the victim and assisted with removing his scuba gear. The victim was unconscious, not breathing, and without a pulse. Despite being without medical or protective equipment because he was off duty, Deputy Coughlan began CPR. The victim expelled large amounts of water from his stomach and lungs then regained a pulse. Paramedics arrived within ten minutes and took over the lifesaving measures. Doctors at Englewood Hospital advised that the victim’s survival was likely related to the effective CPR and quick reaction by Deputy Coughlan.
Deputy Holly Forrester received the Life Saving Award for responding to a search for a suicidal subject. Several Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Venice Police Department officers were called to search local parks and areas of interest with no results. Deputy Forrester was a part of the initial search party but later cleared the call and continued the search independently. Her persistence paid off as she located the subject in a park that had been checked previously. The subject was in his vehicle with a hose running from the exhaust pipe to the interior. Deputy Forrester called for help and took immediate action, removing the unresponsive male by herself and carrying him safely from the vehicle. She requested medical services and provided care to the subject before he was taken to the hospital. Medical staff advised that Deputy Forrester’s actions were pivotal in the subject’s survival. She made a difference by going the extra mile in her work for the citizens of our county, and her efforts saved a life.
Deputies Austin O’Koren and Angelo Akyan received the Life Saving Award for their response to a call involving a 22-month-old suffering cardiac arrest outside a local restaurant. When the deputies arrived, the child was in the parking lot with his parents, and a restaurant patron had begun compressions. Deputy O’Koren could not find a pulse and checked for an obstructed airway. He then took over chest compressions while Deputy Akyan provided rescue breaths. After the second set of compressions, the child coughed and began breathing on his own. The Sarasota County Fire Department arrived and transported the child to SMH. The toddler was behaving normally at the hospital and expected to recover fully. These two deputies acted with great care and swiftness to provide lifesaving measures and prevent a tragedy.
“Our agency is filled with dedicated men and women who serve unselfishly,” said Sheriff Hoffman. “Knowing that their immediate action and extensive training has saved the lives of citizens in our community reassures us that we have the right people wearing our uniform.”