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Officer Derek Dalton, Saratoga Springs Police Department

The following nomination letter was written by Sergeant Roger Williams:

Officer Derek Dalton was called to a concerned citizens complaint of an elderly disoriented woman walking on a deserted stretch of Redwood Road, at night, in the cold. Officer Dalton found the woman who stated she had just given up and was walking out to the desert to “just get away from it all.” She stopped short of saying she was committing suicide but the inference was there. She had no money, no bedding, no food or water and she refused to go home. She had committed no crimes and did not meet the criteria for an involuntary mental health evaluation. We have limited resources available to house someone like this and Officer Dalton knew that a winter storm was quickly moving in. Officer Dalton offered counsel and eventually talked her into allowing him to pay for a hotel room for her for the night. Officer Dalton bought her a meal and checked her into a hotel with his own money. Several hours later concerned family members in a neighboring city reported that she was missing and was possibly suicidal. That police agency was able to locate the woman at the hotel based on Officer Dalton’s report. The woman did suffer from a mental illness which was amplified due to improper medication levels. Without Officer Dalton’s kind, caring compassion the woman may not have survived the night.

On another occasion Officer Dalton located a distraught, crying woman sitting in the drivers seat of her vehicle on the side of the road. He discovered that she had ran out of gas, her purse and phone were at home and she was scared and didn’t know what to do. Officer Dalton took her to a gas station, purchased a gas can and some fuel with his own money. He took her back to her vehicle and got her on her way. He has done this on more than one occasion.

On another occasion Officer Dalton was called to the residence of a very “less fortunate” family. He helped them resolve their problem and while doing so he learned that they all loved soccer but one of the kids had a profound love of Real’ Soccer. None of them had ever actually seen a game in person. Officer Dalton and his family are also huge soccer fans and hold season tickets to Real’. They rarely miss a game. Officer Dalton gave the family his tickets to the next game. The young fan was

On another call Officer Dalton responded to a baby in respiratory distress. He arrived well before the Fire Dept was able to get there. He ran into the house to find that the grandmother, who was baby sitting, was frantic and the baby was blue and only semi-conscious. Officer Dalton took the baby from the grandmother, turned the baby face down on his arm and administered several back blows. The baby gasped and took a breath then began crying. The Fire Dept arrived and took the baby to the hospital where they discovered that there was a penny lodged in the baby’s throat. The back blows rotated the penny enough to allow airflow. Had it not been for Officer Dalton’s quick response and actions, the baby may not have survived.

Officer Dalton is our K-9 Handler frequently gives demonstrations at our local schools where he is a very big hit with the kids. His positive influence on them is invaluable. The ripple effect of his compassion and kindness in this community is impossible to quantify but there is no question, he has found his calling and that is to serve and protect.