Badge of Honor: Topeka Police Officer Aaron Bulmer saves special-needs child from drowning
03/07/2018 12:35 pm PST
A Kansas police officer's quick thinking not only saved a young boy's life, but earned him Crime Watch Daily's Badge of Honor.
Crime Watch Daily has the story of a Kansas police officer who truly defines the term "protect and serve."
In the blink of an eye, everything changes. And sometimes mere mortals become heroes.
It's springtime in Topeka, Kansas and April showers are coming down. Officer Aaron Bulmer has just started his pre-dawn patrol, and on this day he's wearing a camera around his head.
Then suddenly a call from dispatch shatters the silence. A woman's been robbed at gunpoint and a "be on the lookout" comes over Bulmer's police radio.
Without time to think and with two armed and dangerous suspects roaming the streets, Officer Bulmer makes a quick decision to make a right turn that will mean the difference between life and death.
Then around 11 a.m. just inside Topeka's Central Park, Officer Bulmer tells Crime Watch Daily that he spots someone -- but it's not a robbery suspect. It's a small child all alone.
"He was standing next to a metal fence in the park and something just didn't seem right," said Officer Bulmer.
After radioing the other units to say he's going to check it out, he discovers the little boy is dangerously close to a pond.
"It was the environment that day. It was low 40s and it had been raining and I didn't see a parent nearby him," said Bulmer. "I just had that instinct, intuition that something was not right about that child."
The concerned cop races to the left side of the park. But the child seems to have vanished into thin air. Then, call it a gut instinct, or divine intervention:
"I had that moment and I stepped out of my police car and I turned on my body-worn camera and I start to walk towards the pond," said Officer Bulmer.
"All of a sudden I had seen a little boy floating face down in the water and his arms are flailing out and everything's happened really fast, and I just immediately ran and jump in the water," said Bulmer.
Officer Bulmer surfaces with the young boy in his arms.
"In that moment is when I scooped him out of the water and you hear his voice cry. It was actually one of the most amazing moments, 'cause I knew that he wasn't gonna die," said Bulmer.
But with the frigid temps and sinking mud at the pond's bottom, it's now Officer Bulmer who is in trouble.
"The pond was very muddy, I mean I sunk down into the mud where I couldn't move. It was also very slippery too, so it was also making sure that I wasn't gonna fall over," said Bulmer.
Good Samaritans hear the commotion and run over to offer their jackets and sweaters to the small child.
In minutes EMTs pull up on scene as Officer Blumer tries to find out who the boy is and where he came from. The little boy remains quiet as paramedics approach. The unidentified little boy is taken away by paramedics.
Then cops hear something in the distance.
"Two other officers had arrived on scene and they went out looking for a parent, see if they could find this kid's parent maybe their looking for him, and that's exactly what they found," said Bulmer. "They knew he was gone and we had a frantic dad, I had a very scared dad."
And for good reason.
"Elijah was autistic," said Bulmer.
Did you at the time that you rescued him know that this little boy was autistic?
"I did not," said Topeka Police Officer Aaron Bulmer.
The little boy who almost drowned is 5-year-old Elijah Hamby, and he has been diagnosed with autism. So what exactly happened that morning? How did Elijah end up in the park all alone?
His mother, Jaclyn Hamby, sat down with Crime Watch Daily to explain the near tragic events of that day.
"I was at work that Snday morning, my husband calls me and says 'I can't find the baby.' 'What do you mean you can't find the baby?' He said 'Well I laid him down in the bedroom with a cup of chocolate milk and a cartoon and locked the backd oor and had to go to the bathroom,' and he said when he came out about 10 minutes later, he went to make eye contact with Elijah in the bedroom and he wasn't there aymore," said Jaclyn Hamby. "He realized the front door was ajar.
"I was very frantic. By the time I made it home an officer was coming down the alleyway and said 'Well, we found a kid over here in the pond, one of our officers had just pulled him out.'"
Elijah's parents rush to the hospital where he is being treated. Elijah was OK thanks to the brave actions of Officer Aaron Bulmer.
"You want to look at it, it was just a miracle on its own," said Jaclyn. "So many death occur in autistic children with bodies of water. So for him to be in that moment at that exact time was just a blessing all the way around."
According to Officer Bulmer, he's no hero, he's just an officer doing his job with a little help from above.
"God put me in the right place at the right time, he chose me, I don't know why," said Officer Aaron Bulmer. "I hope that I'm a good representative for the city of Topeka and the police department."