Garden Grove Police Officer Dan Villegas recently was recognized by the City Council for performing life-saving CPR on a 5-month-old boy.
Also at the July 28 council meeting, Garden Grove Police Chief Todd Elgin and Fire Chief Tom Schultz told officials that pre-July 4 public outreach helped make for a relatively trouble-free Independence Day.
Villegas, an 18-year law enforcement veteran, was the first officer on the scene May 20 after a father called 911 to say his infant son was not breathing.
Villegas found the baby lying on the living room floor of their Garden Grove home. He made sure there were no obstructions in the baby’s air passage and began CPR. He then took the 5-month-old outside the house to hand over to paramedics.
Garden Grove Fire Capt. Jeff Wilkins recommended that Villegas be commended for quick and professional actions that prolonged the life of the baby.
Fire Chief Tom Schultz presented Villegas with a commendation as council meeting attendees and city officials erupted in prolonged applause.
Schultz then joined Elgin in giving a public-safety assessment of July 4, during which there were no major incidents during a 24-hour period of beefed-up enforcement.
The Garden Grove PD boosted its normal shift staff by 42 additional officers to crack down on people setting off illegal fireworks, Elgin said.
Of 750 calls for police service during that period, half were fireworks related, Elgin said. Police issued 43 administrative citations (at $1,000 a pop) to people caught with illegal fireworks — 10 less than in 2014, the chief added.
Elgin said residents hosting large parties seemed to anticipate possible fireworks-related fines by taking up collections from guests.
No block parties were ordered shut down because of fireworks, he said.
The fire department added one extra firefighter on July 4 and had two arson investigators on duty in case blazes erupted, Schultz said.
There were five minor fire-related calls but none were related to fireworks, Schultz told the council.
Schultz credited the work of his arson investigators and members of the Garden Grove PD for making a major fireworks bust prior to July 4 that helped keep this year’s holiday safe.
A sting led to the June 25 arrest of a 29-year-old male resident at a home on Dakota Avenue after police found him in possession of more than 1,000 pounds of illegal fireworks.
Both Eglin and Schultz told the City Council that proactive work before July 4, including public-service announcements on the city’s website, helped make for a safe holiday.
They suggested beefing up such proactive work next year to help insure another trouble-free Independence Day.
Behind the Badge OC Photographer Steven Georges contributed to this story.