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Police Save Boy Days After Baby Girl Dies: Consolidation Raised

Less than a week after the death of a Larchmont baby girl, a Larchmont police officer revived an infant boy who had stopped breathing.

Citing the sensitive nature, Larchmont police are releasing few details on the earlier incident. They had responded around 7 am on December 20th to a call for aid involving a seven-week-old girl. The infant was later pronounced dead. Following the requisite police investigation, the death was ruled accidental.

A Christmas morning incident had a much happier ending.

At around 8 am on December 25, the Larchmont police received a frantic call from a local family seeking emergency aid for their two-week-old infant who had stopped breathing.  Within minutes Officer Scott Schnall and Sergeant Ronald Knudsen were on the scene.  Trained for this kind of an emergency, Officer Schnall quickly grabbed the child, flipped him onto his forearm, administered a series of back blows, then flipped the child back again creating an exchange of air.  The baby’s eyes opened and he began to cry.

Just at that moment the fire department and ambulance arrived.  The infant was whisked to the Sound Shore Medical Center for further evaluation. He is expected to be fine.

“It’s certainly a wonderful story and a great effort by everybody involved,”  said Chief John Poleway, who described the Christmas day event at the January 11 meeting of the Larchmont Village Board. “We particularly commend the efforts of Officer Schnall.”

Officer Schnall has been on the Larchmont force for 15 years.

Consolidation of Services Questioned

Mayor Liz Feld noted that Larchmont has a police force that can be at a resident’s door within minutes. “That’s due to our size but also due to how you run the department,” she said to Chief Poleway.  She indicated that these are things that need to be considered as the community discusses the dollars and cents of combining services with neighboring municipalities.

Chief Poleway concluded, “I’d certainly temper my talk of consolidation when considering the emergency services.”

Trustee Richard Ward raised further doubts about consolidation.

He said he had looked at potential savings as estimated in a state-wide study of consolidation by New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The comptroller’s report said savings could total $765 million. Dividing that amount by the number of households in New York, Mr. Ward calculated the savings as $94 a year per family.

“Do we really want to give up a critical service like this through consolidation for $94 per year?” asked Mr. Ward.

Where’s the Consolidation Report?

Consolidation of local government services – which could include police, fire, public works or other departments -  has been under investigation since July by a tri-municipal task force for Larchmont Village, Mamaroneck Village and Mamaroneck Town. A report is likely by February or March, according to Bill Dentzer, chair of the committee. (See: VOL Taps New & Former Trustee for Consolidation Group.)

There had been speculation that the report would be ready by the end of  2009, but that did not come from his group, stressed Mr. Dentzer this week when asked for clarification by the Gazette.

The group has kept its deliberations strictly private. Although there is an administrator and trustee from each municipality on the committee, they have been asked not to discuss their process or findings with colleagues outside of the committee.

Mr. Dentzer was similarly careful not to discuss preliminary findings, declining even to say who the committee had consulted as it conducted its research.

However, he did explain, “What we’ve tried to do is work by the Socratic method: What do you think about this? What do you see is a problem? Why is it a problem? And what would you do?

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11 comments to Police Save Boy Days After Baby Girl Dies: Consolidation Raised

  • Ned Benton

    Decisions about consolidation should be based on objective studies that are publicly available, not premature and speculative expressions of opinion by public officials.

    The important questions involve what the budget and possible savings would be if fire, police, and other services were consolidated into the Town of Mamaroneck, and what the performance consequences might be.

    I hope that the Consolidation Report will provide meaningful new information that can be the basis for a serious public discussion of options. Until then, everyone should keep an open mind.

  • Bemused

    Any time consolidation raises its head we get scare tactics and a rash of reporting about the wonders of current coverage. Each item is dismissed as not very significant in dollars. The problem is that the whole village budget is handled like this; each item is not worth touching and suddenly you have the highest taxes in the county and a bankrupt school district. In the last two weeks alone I have driven by 4 work sites in the village where in addition to a full work crew with signs and even traffic controllers, there are one to two police cars helping traffic or just sitting there. Do we really need police traffic duty every time there is a small roadwork? No, but we have staffed to a ridiculous level of “coverage”. Even places like France, Germany and the UK, teeming with services, don’t have our level of staffing for fire,police, etc.

  • Larchgirl

    If Bill Dentzer is chairing this committee you can be quite sure that the report will be thorough, clear, offer explicit options, and delineate the expected outcomes of each choice.

  • nosurprise

    I am missing something here. With EMT and FD in charge of health, and in within seconds, why do we think we need Police Officers to handle those issues ? If thez have time to handle health emergencies, this probably mean that 26 police officers for a 1.1 sq mile village are not busy enough. It is a potent incentive for consolidation of law enforcement and public safety.

    • R U 4 REAL

      No surprise,

      Yes – I’m afraid that you are missing more than I can ever fathom. You are lightyears away from reality if you do not see what you are missing.

      Here is the Reader’s Digest version of the story for you: The police were the first to arrive. They saved the little boy by performing emergency CPR. A non breathing infant quickly became a breathing infant. They story has a happy ending. The family lived happily ever after and had something epic to be grateful for on Xmas this year. A sense that nothing else matters other than your child/children/family together again.

      When a child’s life is saved under extenuating touch and go
      circumstances, people don’t worry about costs for a police officer who salvaged what would have been a life altering situation. Just ask anyone who has lost a child. Your question is insensitive and inappropriate. Time for some introspection perhaps?

      The police officers are DEFINITELY NECESSARY as first responders to a critically time sensitive life or death event.

      Blessings to the families and the officers for having to endure such a crisis – and especially to the family of the baby girl. May she be an Angel of God’s forever. Please know that many people’s thoughts and prayers are with you today and always and may you find comfort in knowing that people care a great deal and feel your pain and devastating loss….my deepest sympathies go out to you.

      • nosurprise

        “When a child’s life is saved under extenuating touch and go
        circumstances, people don’t worry about costs for a police officer who salvaged what would have been a life altering situation” – so costs don’t matter at all then ? why not get one trained EMT permanently stationed in each home at the village’s taxpayers’s cost. Life is priceless. Just ask Haiti.

  • PJ

    Congrats to Officer Schnall and Sergeant Knudsen, You couldn]t get a better response than that. True Professionals.

  • Anon E Mous

    Yes, congrats to the Police Officers. Yes, to Mr. Benton and to Bemused who are correct.

    Must have missed MHS or other course teaching that even correctly interpreted results of a sample of one proves 100 percent correlation exists among the entire population :-)

    In NYC three PDs were combined while continually improving service at extremely high levels, as measured by more extensive and reliable statistics. Just perhaps, that’s why our communities keep employing officers from there.

    Our community politicians unfortunately too often lead us in the belief that our ultra-small units under their control provide more effective and reasonably cost efficient service. Real evidence might prove the opposite.

    But all we hear are claims, rather than evidence. And real leadership here is all too often at recess.

    As Arthur Goldberg said, ‘If Columbus had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock.’

  • Schmaltz

    Something about this story is odd. A call comes in at 8 am…minutes go by before a police officer comes to the rescue. Officer pats the nonbreathing baby on his back and lo and behold the baby is breathing? Minutes went by??? Pat on the back and the child is now breathing? Story didn’t say if they took the child by amulance to the hospital or not. Why wasn’t the child breathing? It was on Christmas day…la la la and all was fine at the end of the day. Are we missing something to the story? A child stops breathing for minutes, and just a pat on his back rescues the infant…and they lived happily ever after???

  • MikeB

    Methinks the lady Feld doth protest too much…

    “Mayor Liz Feld noted that Larchmont has a police force that can be at a resident’s door within minutes. “That’s due to our size but also due to how you run the department,” she said to Chief Poleway.”

    And the town or county police forces couldn’t if they were stationed out of Larchmont? Heck, the town cops wouldn’t even need to have a precinct in Larchmont, those guys and gals are already all over the village. It’s a shame that a great job by Larchmont’s finest has to be politicized so that the powers that be can maintain their own little armies. Do you really think officers schnall or knudsen would have acted any differently if they had a town or county patch on their sleeve. Talk like this by Feld is a slap in the face to the dedication of our emergency responders.

  • Schmaltz

    First responders are constantly saving lives in our community hour after hour. I commend every first responder that this community has for the great work they do. But, something “smacks of schmaltz” to me here…meaning it is a feel-good-story. I think Liz Feld is “spinning the story” to benefit her cause. As a retired health care provider, I don’t think an oxygen deprived baby who stopped breathing for a few minutes, and then getting a few taps on its back .. would be just fine. I am sure there is much more to the story that is not being reported. The story doesn’t sound accurate.