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Basalt police officers honored for life-saving actions under pressure

Basalt Police Chief Greg Knott, center, bumps elbows with Officer Travis Newcomb, left, after recognizing him for saving a life on duty during a ceremony in Lions Park in Basalt on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Two Basalt police officers were honored Friday for taking actions that helped save the lives of two people experiencing medical distress in separate incidents last month.

Officer Travis Newcomb was recognized for diagnosing a woman’s opioid overdose and using Narcan to reverse it.

Officer Bo Biggs was honored for taking quick medical action while off duty when he encountered a man “covered in blood” from a severe cut on his neck.

The officers stabilized both patients until paramedics with Roaring Fork Fire Rescue arrived and transported them to a hospital. Both subjects survived the incidents, according to Basalt Police Chief Greg Knott.

“You just do what you’ve got to do to help somebody out.” Officer Bo Biggs

Both officers received letters of commendation at a ceremony Friday in Lions Park in Basalt.

Biggs was heading home after duty Sept. 18 when he was flagged down by a motorist on Willits Lane who reported a man near the Roaring Fork River boat ramp “covered in blood.” Biggs found the man with a deep laceration to his throat and called for an ambulance.

“Officer Biggs then grabbed his medical bag out of the back of his patrol vehicle,” said a letter of commendation presented by the police department and town of Basalt. “Officer Biggs asked the subject to sit down, which he did. Officer Biggs pulled out gauze and applied pressure to the laceration to the subject’s throat.”

The letter said Biggs “continuously displays a strong sense of duty” and that his quick action that day provided aid that was likely pivotal in the man surviving.

Biggs is a former Marine who has been with the Basalt Police Department for three years. He was previously in law enforcement in Missouri, where he was also involved in lifesaving incidents.

When asked by a reporter how he was able to keep his cool under pressure when encountering the bleeding man, Biggs replied, “You just do what you’ve got to do to help somebody out.”

Newcomb responded to a medical call to a Basalt hotel on Sept. 7 at about 1 a.m. where there was CPR in progress to a 29-year-old female who was unconscious, not breathing and had no pulse.

“He connected the Automated External Defibrillator pads to the patient,” the letter of commendation said. It indicated no shock was needed, so Newcomb administered CPR instead. “He also administered a dose of Narcan to the left nostril. The patient eventually regained a pulse with the first dose of Narcan,” the commendation letter said.

Rescue breaths and a second dose of Narcan were applied and the woman began breathing normally and eventually regained consciousness.

His actions also likely were responsible for saving a life, the commendation letter said.

Newcomb, who has been with the department nearly seven years, said that when the AED indicated there was no issue with the woman’s heart, he suspected an opioid overdose might be an issue because of her young age.

“You fall back on your training and just act,” he said.

Both officers said they realized after the incidents that their adrenaline spiked, but during the incident they just thought about what steps were necessary to try to help people in distress.

“You fall back on your training,” Newcomb said. “It’s almost like you’re acting it out and you don’t realize what you’re doing until afterwards and you can sit in your car decompress and you’re like, ‘Wow, that was wild.”

scondon@aspentimes.com


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