On August 3, 2011, Palmer Lake Police Officer Jennifer Jack (mother of three and one of my best friends) was dispatched to Interstate 25 on a call to help the Colorado State Patrol with a reported roll-over accident. On her way to the scene, she was told that the two occupants of the vehicle had fled the scene and had been spotted walking through a nearby mobile home park.
Officer Jack drove through the trailer park where she spotted the pair, a man and a woman, sitting against a home. She detained them both and then called for an ambulance because the man was bleeding profusely from a gash in his head. Typical protocol would have been to roll the man onto his stomach and cuff him, but when he complained of severe neck pain, Jen had him lie down on his back and "braced his head between her knees to immobilize him." At the same time, she used a towel the man had brought from the rolled vehicle when he fled the scene to apply pressure to his head wound and slow the bleeding until paramedics arrived.
According to The Tribune, "A nurse at Memorial Hospital North said that if it wasn't for Jack's actions the man would have died. He had a fractured C-2 vertebrae and even a mere sneeze could have broken his neck, causing his death."
On October 13, Officer Jack (along with former officer Robert Grado) received the first ever Palmer Lake Police Officer Lifesaving Award for her actions.
Officer Jack (from now on I'll call her Jen) may be a naturally talented police officer, but she isn't a seasoned one. Far from it. It was only two years ago that Jen decided to attend the Community College of Aurora Law Enforcement Academy. A stay-at-home mother of three small children, Jen had given up her career as an emergency room technician after her second child was born. But when her youngest was two years old, she realized that she'd be better able to enjoy her time as a mother if she had a fulfilling and challenging part-time career of her own.
So for a year Jen drove a 100-mile round trip four times a week to attend the Police Academy, spending three nights a week and all day Saturdays practicing arrest control drills, shooting her pistol at the firing range and learning Colorado Revised Statutes.
When Jen graduated from the Police Academy, I was in attendance with her husband Brian Jack, her three kids and her parents and brother, all of us incredibly proud of Jen for working hard so that she could contribute to her community and have a full and well-balanced life.
On her first day working as a Palmer Lake Police Officer, Jen received a taste of how some men would respond to a woman wearing the color of the law. Dispatched to put down a badly injured deer hit by a car, Jen arrived on the scene to find an older man and his adult son pulled over by a suffering, but still-mobile deer. When Jen climbed out of her car, the two men whispered to each other behind their hands. Jen pulled out her handgun and took aim at the deer as it leaped around. She fired.
"You hit it!" the older man exclaimed.
The deer was still alive. Jen aimed and fired again.
"You hit it again!" the man said, even more surprised.
Officer Jack holstered her gun and headed back to her car. Nothing about her new job would be easy, that much was clear, but she was ready for the challenge.
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