The quick, life-saving work of SUNY Oswego University Police Officer Eric Martin earned honors during the 2022 University Police Awards, the highest recognition by the SUNY Police Chiefs Association, on Nov. 15. 

Martin was one of six recipients of Life Saving Awards, dating back to heroic work on March 8 of this year. That afternoon, he was the first on the scene of a two-car accident at the intersection of Route 104 and Fifth Avenue near campus.

“The most seriously injured occupant was a 65-year-old male who was unresponsive with very shallow, labored breathing,” SUNY Oswego University Police Chief Scott Swayze wrote in the nomination letter, praising Martin’s “swift and decisive actions” in saving the life of the man, who made a full recovery.

”Officer Martin immediately realized the seriousness of the man's condition and took several steps to open the man's airway which, although still unresponsive, allowed for normal breathing to resume until an ambulance arrived,” Swayze noted. “Medical personnel on scene, and at the hospital, noted that the quick actions of Officer Martin saved the man's life.”

Martin, who has been an officer for around 12 years, credited an example set by a former co-worker and officer, Dan McCarthy, who had an EMT (emergency medical technician) background.

“In this particular case training helps, but I had the benefit of watching a fellow officer and former co-worker perform a similar act at a traffic accident back in 2014 or 2015,” Martin recalled. “That's why when I arrived on scene and saw the unconscious driver's head was tilted down, my first thought was to tip it back up, and thankfully I saw him breathing normally after that.”

The annual University Police Awards honor lieutenants, officers and staff for their heroic efforts and bravery on campus as well as their professionalism.

“On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of students and employees who meet on our campuses each day, we thank our officers and staff for their service in keeping us safe,” said SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley. “The winners announced today are role models among their peers and the entire SUNY community, and, in some cases, have put aside their own safety to protect us. They have our utmost respect and our congratulations for what they have achieved.”