Florida Officer Rescues Drowning Infant From Retention Pond

by Taylor Cunningham

A police officer in Florida risked her life to rescue a drowning infant by running into the water without pause despite not knowing how to swim.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office recently released bodycam footage from June 9. That day an infant somehow wandered into an apartment complex retention pond. And Officer Me’Atia Sanderson was the first person on the scene after a resident called in the emergency.

The footage shows the moment that Sanderson pulled into the parking lot and began running to the scene.

“Where’s the baby?” she asks frantically to people standing on the shore.

Someone tries to point out the baby and another woman runs into the water to search.

Once, the officer spots the infant, unconscious and floating in the pond, she begins swimming into deep water. For at least 30 seconds, her body cam only shows open water. And we can’t hear her attempts to reach the child.

Eventually, Officer Sanders reaches land and begins CPR. She pleads with the child to wake up and continues using lifesaving measures until two emergency medical officers take over.

“Come on, baby,” Officer Sanderson can be heard saying in between chest compressions. “Come on!”

Florida Police Officer Put ‘Her Own Life at Risk’ to Rescue the Infant

The footage does not show if the child wakes up. But an announcement on Facebook by the sheriff’s office later shares that she and EMS were able to revive the baby.

“Sanderson, who does not know how to swim herself, without a second’s hesitation, entered the pond to retrieve the child and performed CPR until she was relieved by other responding officers,” the office wrote in a statement on Tues (Nov. 22).

The Sheriff’s Office used Sanderson, who has only been working with the department since 2019, as an example during its social media Week of Thanks campaign, which honors brave officers who risk their lives in the line of duty.

The post noted that Captain Christopher Scott with the Jacksonville Fire Department hailed Sanderson as a hero for making a “quick and decisive decision to go into the retention pond.” Because she didn’t stop to consider her own life, she reached the child in time and “undoubtedly” saved his life.

“As we continue our #weekofthanks, we at the #JSO are thankful that we have officers like Ofc. Sanderson, who day in and day out, take on the challenges and dangers of this job. Our community would not be what it is without them.”