Split-Second Decision by Hero Police Officers Saved ‘Numerous Lives’ in Baltimore Bridge Disaster

Split-Second Decision by Hero Police Officers Saved ‘Numerous Lives’ in Baltimore Bridge Disaster

CLARIFICATION, April 1, 2024: The two police officers lauded for their actions before the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge are state employees. An earlier version of this article suggested otherwise.

A rogue cop is quick to make the news, causing pundits to opine for hours, making generalizations about the entire force.

But, this rarely happens when hero cops save lives and families — although such events happen every day.

The brave officers of police departments around our country put their lives on the line every day to save others, and it’s important to highlight their sacrificial work, without which the country would be paralyzed.

In the early hours of Tuesday, around 1:30 a.m., a massive 984-foot Singapore-based container ship, Dali, experienced a complete power blackout while traveling outbound from the Port of Baltimore. This caused the ship to lose propulsion and steering control, according to CNN.

As the powerless Dali drifted off course towards the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the crew attempted emergency measures but could not regain control, eventually striking one of the pillars of the bridge.

A person living in Dundalk, about a mile away from the bridge, said it felt and sounded like an earthquake or plane crash, the New York Post reported.

The impact from the massive cargo vessel caused the entire 1.6-mile-long bridge to catastrophically collapse.

According to The Baltimore Banner, the Dali sent a distress signal as it began to lose power, which was picked up by the Coast Guard.

Maryland Transportation Authority Police then stepped in to contain the situation.

The officers were monitoring the stricken container ship Dali as it experienced a power failure and drifted disastrously off course toward the Key Bridge.

At 1:27 a.m., a call came over the dispatch radio that the Singapore-flagged Dali cargo vessel had lost steering and was on a collision course with the bridge. “There’s a ship approaching that just lost their steering. So until they get that under control we gotta stop all traffic,” the dispatch officer stated over the radio.

A second officer quickly moved into position on the south end and successfully stopped northbound traffic.

Seconds ticked by as the officers verified the bridge was closed to vehicles. However, they were unaware that a construction crew was operating on the bridge deck that night, repairing potholes to avoid lane closures during daylight hours.

At approximately 1:28 a.m., one of the officers said, “Is there a crew working on the bridge right now?”

“Just make sure no one’s on the bridge right now. … If there’s a crew up there, you might want to notify whoever the foreman is to see if we can get them off the bridge temporarily,” he added.

Another officer offered to ride up and tell the workers, but there was no time.

A few seconds later, the powerless Dali rammed into the bridge pylon, blasting with the force of 10 million pounds based on expert estimates. Within 20 seconds, the entire bridge collapsed into the river below.

“The whole bridge just fell down. Start, start, whoever, everybody — the whole bridge just collapsed,” one officer shouted over the radio in the chaotic moments after impact.

Eight construction workers who were on the bridge repairing potholes were thrown into the Patapsco River when it crumbled.

Two workers were rescued, and one was hospitalized in serious condition.

According to a first responder, the other worker just “brushed his clothes off and wanted to see his family. He was shaken up a little bit but nothing major. I guess the good Lord was on his side,” the Post reported.

However, the six other workers from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are missing and presumed dead as of Tuesday evening, CNN reported.

The amount of time between the first call and the collapse was a mere 90 seconds, according to the Post.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore credited the quick work of the two Maryland Transportation Authority Police officers in blocking off access and stopping traffic from entering the bridge with saving “numerous lives.”

In 2020, the Baltimore City Council slashed $22.4 million from their police budget, including overtime pay, in the wake of the death of George Floyd. While the drastic cuts were being made, crowds of protesters stood outside City Hall demanding that the entire police force be defunded altogether, according to WYPR-FM.

According to WBFF-TV, the current number of police at the Baltimore Police Department is dangerously low, with as few as three police officers for more than 61,000 residents.

This is no doubt, at least in part, due to the anti-police stance of many elected leaders and political organizations.

The whats and whys of this devastating event will be debated for a long time.

What cannot be denied is that in the time of crisis in Baltimore, it wasn’t the politicians or the social workers who rushed into the line of danger to save lives, regardless of race or color — it was two courageous MDTA Police officers.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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