Inmates come to deputy’s aid after he passes out during work detail (VIDEO)

A Georgia sheriff is praising the actions of six inmates who helped a deputy in need last week at a time when they could have chosen to do something very different.

The inmates were on work detail cleaning up a cemetery in Polk County on Father’s Day when the lone deputy said he wasn’t feeling well. Moments later, the deputy passed out face down in the grass with his gun, his phone, and the keys to the van within easy reach of the inmates.

One of the inmates ran for help, while another located the deputy’s cell phone and dialed 911. Others gathered around the deputy, rolled him over and removed his duty belt and bulletproof vest, not only to help cool him down, but in case they needed to start CPR before help arrived.

Inmate Greg Williams said the deputy was unconscious and not breathing for about a minute and when he finally came to, his breathing was “real heavy and real fast.”

The inmates stayed with the deputy until EMS arrived some time later. “None of my guys ran. None of them did anything they shouldn’t have done,” said the deputy, who was not been publicly identified.

“When that happened, in my opinion, it wasn’t about who is in jail and who wasn’t,” Williams said. “It was about a man going down and we had to help him.”

The deputy, who suffers from a rare medical disorder, is going to be ok, but – at least through the hot, humid summer – the officer has been taken off of work detail.

As a token of thanks, the officer’s family provided the inmates with lunch, which included dessert. And as an added token of appreciation, Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats is cutting the six inmates’ sentences by about one-fourth.

“They really stepped up in a time of crisis and show that they care about my officers,” Moats said. “That really speaks a lot about my officers too, how they treat these inmates. They treat them like people. Like family.”

[ 11 Alive ]