Cop Went Home, Changed into a New Uniform, and Returned to Work

Cop Went Home, Changed into a New Uniform, and Returned to Work

By Steve Pomper

Lincoln Police Department Sgt. Tu Tran (Screenshot)

In this era of snowflakes and their enablers, cops are still showing they must handle the most harrowing of emergencies, and then, while many occupations allow their employees to go home or even seek counseling for often trivial reasons, cops most often return to work.

While perusing for an interesting topic to discuss that would help educate folks about what cops do, I came across the remarkable story (or stories) of Lincoln (NE) Police Department Sergeant Tu Tran. While most cops will never rescue someone from a car sinking in a lake, pond, river, or other large body of water, Sgt. Tran did it twice—within six months.

On the first occasion, according to The Lincoln Star-Journal, on Sept. 9th, 2022, “Two Lincoln men and a police officer helped save a driver from drowning after his vehicle left the roadway and crashed into a pond…, police say.”

A man was driving “when he noticed a large splash in the pond near the road.” As he neared the location, he observed a pickup truck in the water “partially submerged.” 

The man entered the water and began swimming toward the vehicle. Another man also entered the water to help with the rescue. Once at the truck, they realized all the doors were locked. The second man returned to his vehicle to get a tire iron. When he returned, the first man used it to break out a rear window and unlock the door. 

That was good and bad. They could now get to the driver, but water flooded the interior, causing the truck to sink. The first man managed to get to the driver and unbuckle him from the front seat. Police reported that at that time, “the driver was conscious, but unresponsive.” 

The car, filling with water and sinking, the men had trouble keeping the driver above water. Fortunately, they saw life jackets floating in the backseat. They put one on each driver’s arm to help keep him afloat. 

That’s when Sgt. Tran arrived. Tran said he immediately noticed the pickup was sinking. Tran swam to the vehicle and was able to help the first man pull the driver out just before the truck 

 “fully submerged.” 

Humble, like so many cops when it comes to accolades, though Tran had been snagged by a fishing lure during the rescue, his thoughts were only on the victim and on the two civilians who’d initiated the rescue. 

“‘I’m not surprised, but very proud just to see a citizen help another citizen,’ Tran said. ‘It’s nice to see people still willing to help each other out.’”

According to the police, the driver had experienced some sort of health emergency, which caused him to lose control of his vehicle and veer into the pond. “The driver was taken to the hospital, where he is expected to recover.” 

Well, Sgt. Tran may have been done with water rescues, but they weren’t done with him. And while early September water temperatures in Lincoln might have been doable, Tran’s next rescue, on February 23rd, 2023, is another, much more frigid, story. 

KMTV 3 News reported, “The temperature at the time of the incident was 23 degrees with a windchill of 4 degrees and periodic freezing precipitation.”

A woman, 27, according to the police, was driving too fast for the icy conditions and lost control of her car while attempting a turn onto another street and careened off the roadway and “into a golf course water hazard.” 

A witness called 911 and reported the car’s location and that it was sinking. Sgt. Tran happened to be in the area and responded. On arrival, he observed only the “rear driver’s window and trunk were…” above water. 

Tran shed his police gear, entered the glacial water, and swam to the car. The car had sunk deeper into the water by the time he arrived. Water pressure kept him from opening an unlocked door. He couldn’t see through the “murky water,” so he reached into the car, presumably through an open window, felt a leg, grabbed it, and pulled. 

The leg was attached to a woman fortunate to have had Sgt. Tran respond to her call. Entering water that cold also placed his life at risk. As with the pickup in September, Tran was able to get the driver out just “before it sank completely beneath the surface,” according to police. 

Tran got her to the shore, where people waiting there “helped her out of the water.” Bystanders then also helped Sgt. Tran onto the bank. The fire department medical personnel drove the victim to the hospital for medical treatment. 

And here’s essentially the last line of the story that sparked my interest and inspired this article:

“Sgt. Tran went home for a new uniform and returned to work.”