I drove up to the scene of a crash last week, and what I saw gave me a new appreciation for law enforcement.

The crash happened just north of Abbeville on Highway 167, when a passenger vehicle drifted off of the roadway and then over-corrected, causing it to flip.

When I arrived, an officer from (what I believe to be) the city marshal's office was already at the vehicle, speaking to the occupants.  Soon, his baton was drawn, and he was smashing through the back window.

We removed the passenger first and, by this time, members of the Abbeville Police Department were on the scene.  As the passenger was placed a safe distance from the vehicle, one of the Abbeville officers immediately began to asses her situation, asking her questions to which she should know the answers, and asking if anything was hurting.

I went back to the vehicle and crawled in through the back window to help the driver.  She was "pinned" in the vehicle, her legs caught between the steering wheel, seat, and door.  I helped her maneuver her body until one leg was free, and from that point it was easy to see how to get the other leg free.  We were able to lift her straight up through the passengers door to safety.  When I exited the vehicle, I saw that the same officer was still speaking with the passenger.

I don't know if it is done to every accident victim, but a brace had been placed around her neck, and this Abbeville officer then sat there, supporting her neck like this until the ambulance arrived, trying to minimize any more damage to her neck.

Photo by John Falcon

The officer stayed like this, speaking to the woman to keep her calm, until the paramedics arrived.

This other officer sprang into action as soon as the paramedics arrived, helping them every step of the way.  It appeared that they worked in unison, without the paramedics even having to tell the officer what to do.

Photo by John Falcon

I have been on the scene of crashes before, but never really took the time to notice the role officers played in the grand scheme of things.

There were also Louisiana State Police officers on the scene, as well as Vermilion Parish officers, all lending a hand to make certain that the crash victims were taken care of, that traffic flowed well, and,  overall, ensuring safety for everyone.