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911 dispatcher on lunch break identifies missing person, performs CPR on overdose victim the next day

Dispatchers are used to playing a pivotal role in saving people's lives over the phone.

But for one operator with the Windsor Police Service, he never expected to see two emergency situations play out right out in front of his eyes, putting him on the opposite side of a 911 call.

The first incident happened during a late-night shift on Sunday, May 28.

Michael Hutchinson, working in Windsor Police Headquarters as a dispatcher, took his lunch break around 3 a.m., before driving himself to the nearby Tim Hortons on Park Street East to grab a coffee.

That's when he recognized a man sitting next to his vehicle who "looked like he needed help." Something about that man looked familiar to Hutchinson.

"We did have a call for a missing person ... So I contacted the sergeant that was in charge of the investigation and, sure enough, he checked on the man and identified him as our missing person."

Hutchinson explained he was able to identify the man from the missing report because he had "some pretty distinct features."

"So it was pretty easy to recognize him," he said.

Mike Hutchinson is a Windsor police 911 communicator who found a missing person and helped save a life. (Source: Windsor Police Service)

But while Sunday's incident was pretty straightforward, Monday night was much more chaotic.

On May 29 around 4:30 a.m., Hutchinson parked his vehicle near the parking garage on Goyeau Street across from police headquarters for another late-night coffee run.

"A man just came up and knocked on my window. I thought he was just going to ask me a question," he explained.

It turns out another person nearby was experiencing an overdose and the man needed Hutchinson to call 911.

"Ambulance has a very specific set of questions they have to ask to triage their patients. I went over to assess the male, with the ambulance person on the phone," said Hutchinson.

"They said, 'You need to start CPR now to preserve this person until the ambulance arrives.' So that's what I did."

Hutchinson estimates he performed CPR for a couple minutes before emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

Const. Adam Young shared the story of Hutchinson's acts of heroism on Windsor police's social media accounts and said the entire force is very proud of his ability to step up in back-to-back incidents.

"I felt like he was almost putting us out of a job," Young said with a laugh. "He's answering calls. Now, he’s helping us on the street."

Young advises any individual who witnesses someone in similar situations of distress to never ignore them and, instead, call 911 immediately.

"Obviously, we have our 911 number if it’s an emergency — or the non-emergency number if you’re not sure. One of our officers will come out and assess the situation and deal with it accordingly," said Young.

As for Hutchinson, he credits his role as a 911 dispatcher, along with his past experience as an Army Cadet and Windsor police auxiliary officer, for knowing exactly what to do when a crisis played out in front of his eyes.

"It's nice — but I hope I did what any other person would have done." 

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