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Indiana police officer uses Heimlich maneuver to save little girl

Officer Doug Dunn with 18-month old Lyla Davis and her mother Anastasia Cunningham. Dunn used the Heimlich maneuver to save Lyla when she choked on a lollipop at a city festival. (Photo provided/Tell City Police Department)

TELL CITY, Ind. (WISH) – Tell City Reserve Officer Doug Dunn was in the right place at the right time and saved the life of a little girl.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, Officer Dunn was working the October Fest at City Hall Park. He was patrolling the park when he noticed a panicked mother and a small child struggling to breathe.

Officer Dunn says he noticed the mother, Anastasia Cunningham, frantically trying to clear 18-month-old Lyla Davis’s airway, but it wasn’t working.

Dunn rushed over and began performing the Heimlich maneuver. A few moments later, the action dislodged the end of a sucker from Lyla’s airway and she began to breathe.

Tell City police say Lyla quickly recovered, but was taken to the hospital to be evaluated as a precaution. She has since made a full recovery.

The police department says Cunningham tried to get the officer’s name to show her appreciation, but he downplayed his actions.

Tell City Police Chief Derrick Lawalin gave a formal statement on the heroic actions of Officer Dunn:

“The Tell City Police Department is proud of Officer Dunn for his great work. The incident was captured on the park’s security camera system. “Upon reviewing the incident, it was clear to our Administration that Officer Dunn, without hesitation, relied on his training to engage in the situation and produce positive results,” Lawalin said Monday on Facebook.

“Reserve police officers are volunteers who give much of their time to the citizens and community. The Tell City Police Department proudly manages a thriving reserve division made up of ten dedicated officers. Although serving in a volunteer capacity, reserve officers are required to maintain a level of training consistent with a career police officer. This training includes emergency medical techniques.” 

Officer Doug Dunn is a five-year veteran of the TCPD. (Provided Photo/Tell City Police Department)