This Franklin police officer helps save another life, this time a 3-year-old

Franklin police Officer Dennis Shannon was recently presented a Meritorious Service Award for the saving the life of a three-year-old girl who was choking on a hot dog in March. At right is Mayor Todd Hall, Shannon, police Chief Russell Whitman, left. ED RICHTER/STAFF
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Franklin police Officer Dennis Shannon was recently presented a Meritorious Service Award for the saving the life of a three-year-old girl who was choking on a hot dog in March. At right is Mayor Todd Hall, Shannon, police Chief Russell Whitman, left. ED RICHTER/STAFF

A Franklin police officer was recently recognized for his quick action in saving a child who was choking.

Police Chief Russell Whitman said about 1:30 p.m. March 23, Officer Dennis Shannon and an EMS unit were dispatched to a Farm Avenue residence where Brooklyn Mullins, 3, was choking on a hot dog.

According to Whitman, Shannon was on the scene within a minute of the dispatch and found the toddler not breathing. After immediately slapping the child’s back several times in an attempt to dislodge the obstruction, Shannon performed the Heimlich maneuver on the child which dislodged the hot dog — and was about two inches in length — saving the girl’s life, Whitman said.

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For his actions, Shannon was presented the Meritorious Service Award which is given to an employee for an act which results in the saving of a life but does not involve a substantial risk of harm to the employee. The award is a white citation bar for the officer’s uniform and a certificate.

“I’m not sure who was more scared at the time because I couldn’t get it to break free,” Shannon said after the recent presentation.

Melody Speicher, Brooklyn’s grandmother, said the toddler “has not eaten a hot dog since.”

Speicher said she was glad Shannon was recognized for his actions. “He deserves it.”

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Shannon said he appreciated the recognition because police officers are seen more in a negative light in the press than in a positive light.

Whitman said Shannon started as a reserve officer in September 2001 and became a full-time officer in February 2006. He has received several letters of commendation and several letters of gratitude from citizens as well as a safe driving award.

This was not the first time Shannon helped to save someone’s life.

In March 2010, Shannon and two officers received a late-night dispatch to a gas station for a man who was on the ground and unresponsive.

The officers found the man was not breathing and did not have a pulse. Shannon and another officer immediately began performing CPR on him. When medics arrived, an AED was used to get the man breathing and was transported to Atrium Medical Center where he recovered from a heart attack.