Citizens honored after assisting police | News
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) -- Police officers are here to protect and serve the public, but what happens when they need protection themselves? That is a situation one Hot Springs officer found herself in. Luckily, a couple of ordinary citizens came to her rescue.
Keith and Sherry Merritt had just finished an evening of ballroom dancing in downtown Hot Springs when they came across an officer in trouble. Without hesitation, the couple jumped into action; an act that may have saved a life.
"If there is another officer in trouble, you stop and you help," says Sherry Merritt.
She spent 25 years protecting and serving the public with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department but two weeks ago, she found herself stepping out of retirement.
"It's just a routine," says her husband, Keith. "We always take the same street home and it had been raining that night, storming, and when we saw the officer and the suspect we knew it was going to be bad."
Both Sherry and Keith noticed a female officer being attacked on Quapaw Avenue in Hot Springs. Without a word, they stopped their car and ran to help her.
"The three of us subdued him, got him to the ground and put handcuffs on him and waited for the backup officers to come," says Keith Merritt.
After being taken into custody, the suspect spent a week in jail before taking is own life. An ending, the Merritt's say, is the most tragic part of the story.
"That is what really bothers me the most about this is it was such a waste of life," says Keith.
Thursday, the couple became Citizens of the Month in Garland County for their quick action in a time of need.
That night, a reminder to Sherry of her days on the force, but an evening Keith won't soon forget.
"On our way home that night, we didn't say anything for a long time and finally I said,'Well, that may have been just another day for you, but it wasn't for me," says Keith Merritt."You never know the outcome. It could have been a lot worse but thankfully everyone got to go home that night."
The Merritts say they are very grateful for their city police officer and if they are ever given a second opportunity to help one in need, they will not hestiate to do so.
This isn't the only honor for the Merritts, the city also recognized them Tuesday night for their service.