Editorial: Erving officer acted heroically in saving a life

  • Erving police officer James Loynd. COURTESY ERVING POLICE FACEBOOK PAGE

Published: 1/25/2019 9:09:25 AM

We are thankful that police in Franklin County don’t have much cause to use their firearms. That’s probably in part because we live in a relatively quiet corner of the world, and because generally speaking, from what we’ve seen over the years, our cops are pros who do their jobs well. That usually means solving problems and de-escalating situations without resorting to unwarranted or deadly force.

But our nation’s law enforcement officers carry handguns for a reason, for those times when it’s needed to protect lives — and that’s just what Erving police officer James Loynd was commended for after he very likely saved the life of a state trooper by firing on an alleged assailant last fall.

The town has credited Loynd with saving the life of the trooper who investigators say was being stabbed by a carjacking suspect in New Salem last October.

According to the letter of commendation issued recently by the town, Loynd was on duty when he received a radio transmission that the state police were chasing a New Hampshire carjacking suspect on Route 2. Loynd pursued the suspect vehicle speeding through Erving but, showing good judgment, backed off as they entered the thickly settled part of town. East of town, Loynd noticed a state trooper had resumed the chase, and Loynd followed to provide backup, as the trooper was alone.

And it’s a good thing for the trooper that he did, and no doubt why the Selectboard cited Loynd’s “great judgment.”

The suspect’s vehicle crashed on Route 202 in New Salem and the driver managed to attack the trooper with a knife, slashing him multiple times, when Loynd stepped in, according to police.

“Officer Loynd not only conducted himself professionally and responsibly but undeniably saved human lives that day,” Erving Police Chief Christopher Blair wrote in the commendation, which also states Loynd displayed restraint during the incident.

Loynd rushed at the knife-wielding suspect and shot him in the torso, incapacitating him. He called in medical help and rendered lifesaving first aid to the severely injured trooper.

This was the first police-involved shooting in the history of Erving Police Department.

Erving Administrative Coordinator Bryan Smith said he cannot imagine what Loynd had to experience that day, and he makes an important and subtle point. As heroic and apparently necessary as Loynd actions surely seemed, it has to be a jarring experience for someone who most likely sees himself first and foremost as a peace officer.

The carjacking suspect did not die, and that’s probably a great relief for Loynd, because taking a life even justifiably in the line of duty must leave psychological scars.

Smith has publicly thanked Loynd and noted “He is one of the best town employees we have, and on that day his actions were nothing short of professional and heroic … We’re very lucky to have him and lucky he’s safe.

We could not have said it any better.


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