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Bodycam video captures Sterling Heights police sergeant saving choking baby

Posted at 3:44 PM, Jan 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 04:25:02-05

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — A swift response by the Sterling Heights Police Department saved a baby's life last week.

On Jan. 17 at 2:30 p.m., police dispatchers received a frantic call from a mom about her 1-year-old in distress.

911 operator: "What's going on there?"
Mom: "My daughter, I don't know what happened to her. Please hurry."
911 operator: "Is she breathing?"
Mom: "NO!"

Without a second to lose, Sterling Heights police officers rushed to the 4600 block of Fox Hill Drive.

"In instances like this, seconds mean everything," said Lt. Mario Bastianelli, Special Investigations Bureau and Office of the Chief with the Sterling Heights Police Department.

Bastianelli says Sgt. Tony Roeske was the first to arrive on the scene. And even though Roeske was not available for an interview, his bodycam footage shows it all.

Police sergeant credited for saving choking baby

"Showing up to a very frantic scenario and incident, and the family is panicking. Their baby is not breathing," Bastianelli said.

With no time for medics to arrive, Roeske jumped into action.

He immediately lifted the baby girl and started performing back thrusts.

Once the baby coughed up and started breathing, the parents take a sigh of relief as Roeske handed back their child.

"It's a high-stress situation for us as well, right. We have a baby here that could possibly die, and we want to do everything to save her," Mario Bastianelli said.

Bastianelli says Roseke is one of the best Sterling Heights officers, with over 20 years on the job. And regardless of Roseke being a dad as well, for any police officer, incidents like these always become personal.

When asked what was Roseke's reaction when he saw his bodycam footage, Bastianelli said, "I think after the fact, you look at it you are like, wow. I just did something so amazing. I mean, he is a hero. And the fact of the matter is when you look at it, you are proud of it and you know you did your job. And every day, our officers try to do a good job just like Sgt. Roseke."

7 Action News reporter Faraz Javed met up with the mom and the baby, and both are back home and doing well. The mom didn't want to go on camera but was extremely grateful that her little girl survived the incident. Meanwhile, police are reminding folks to remain calm and call 911 immediately when faced with any emergency.

Watch the bodycam video in the player above.