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Port Jefferson Village Constables

Port Jefferson Village constables Brent Broere and James Murdocco. Photo by Alex Petroski

Port Jefferson code officers James Murdocco and Brent Broere are quick thinkers and a dynamic team, and thanks to their efforts, a young man who suffered a drug overdose is alive today.

Despite being delayed by a passing train in late December, when the constables arrived at the scene of a parked car on Belle Terre Road, they sprung into action. Broere had prepared a Narcan dose, the drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid-related overdose, on the way. When the pair arrived at the parking lot of Fairfield at Port Jefferson apartment complex, Murdocco took the syringe and raced to the car.

“This young man regained his life directly in front of everyone.”

— Eyewitness

“He’s pretty much done,” Murdocco recalled thinking that Dec. 22 night when he saw the victim behind the already opened driver’s seat door, whose head was leaning back against the headrest. He said the female passenger was “worked up,” and even tried hitting the victim’s chest in an effort to spark a sign of life. Murdocco climbed in the car, straddling the unresponsive victim next to the girl who was letting out harrowing screams at the comatose man, hoping for a response.

“He was actually purple,” a witness said of the victim. “The situation heightened when no pulse was noted for some time. This incident brought fear to my family — especially during the holiday season. My young ones were in shock.”

Murdocco administered the first dose of Narcan in the victim’s nostril, but it had little effect. Broere loaded up a second, stronger dose and his partner tried the other nostril, completely emptying the syringe in one shot. The victim responded so well he was able to exit the car and put on his own jacket.

“This young man regained his life directly in front of everyone,” the witness wrote in a letter to Port Jefferson Village, discussing the buzz it stirred and pleading for proclamations to recognize the officers’ heroic efforts. “This truly was a holiday blessing. Although a tragedy, these officers saved a tragedy from becoming a parent’s worse nightmare.”

The constables were honored by Port Jefferson Village during a Jan. 3 board meeting for their actions that night. Code officers Michael Hanley and John Vinicombe, who arrived on the scene after Murdocco and Broere, were also recognized.

According to Murdocco, the officers are able to hear 911 calls made in the Port Jeff area, and are encouraged to respond to calls requiring immediate aid, oftentimes faster than Suffolk County police officers. He and his partner were in their patrol car when they heard the call, and planned to make their way to the scene, briefly waiting on the south side of the Long Island Rail Road tracks on Main Street as a train went through. While they waited, they encountered a  county police officer who was also headed to the scene, but who did not have the equipment or training to administer Narcan. Village constables are not required to undergo Narcan training, but they are encouraged to do so, and luckily, Murdocco and Broere voluntarily took the course on their own time.

“The chief and the deputy chief and the mayor did a really good job by pairing me and Jimmy up together.”

— Brent Broere

“These two officers were absolutely incredible,” the eyewitness said. “The officer that jumped into the car acted so fast that he had no protective gloves, and was exposed with the young man’s blood. Several neighbors asked to assist, yet he declined, and was able to clean out all of the areas exposed.”

According to accounts from both officers and an eyewitness, the scene was emotional and tense. Murdocco, who works in a state detention center in addition to his duties in Port Jeff, used the word “gruesome” to describe what he saw.

Broere, a Northport High School graduate and Marine Corps veteran in a scout sniper platoon, had been deployed on multiple combat tours and was awarded a Purple Heart after being shot through both of his legs. He returned to Long Island about six months ago after spending eight years in North Carolina working in various law enforcement capacities.

“The chief and the deputy chief and the mayor did a really good job by pairing me and Jimmy up together,” Broere said. “We’re a good match. As partners, we kind of know what the other one is thinking before he has to say it. In a situation like that seconds count.”

Port Jeff Village officials honor code officers, Michael Hanley, third from left, Brent Broere, James Murdocco and John Vinicombe, far right, for saving a life using Narcan. Photo by Alex Petroski

When Port Jefferson Village code officers James Murdocco, Michael Hanley, Brent Broere and John Vinicombe arrived for their shifts Dec. 22, little did they know they would each play a vital role in saving a life.

The four constables were honored by the Port Jefferson Village mayor and board of trustees during a public meeting Jan. 3 for the roles they played in resuscitating with Narcan an unresponsive victim. Narcan is used to block the effects of opioid drugs and to reverse overdoses.

“On Dec. 22, 2017, officer James Murdocco responded to a call at the Fairfield Apartment complex and upon arrival, officers found an unconscious man in a vehicle,” the proclamation honoring Murdocco read in part. Hanley, Broere and Vinicombe were also each given matching proclamations. “All four officers, while working together, cleared the scene and administered two doses of Narcan to the patient which resulted in bringing him back to life. The actions of these officers are well deserving of an official recognition and are positive role models in the community as these officers are not merely giving out tickets, but are there to save lives also. Therefore as the Mayor of Port Jefferson Village, I do hereby recognize James Murdocco, on this 3rd day of January, 2018 for your act of heroism and many years of public service. You are truly a valuable asset to our community and we appreciate and applaud you.”

According to code Chief Wally Tomaszewski, when the officers arrived on the scene the victim’s skin was a shade of purple, and as far as he was concerned he thought the man was dead. He said the actions of the officers were heroic and saved a life.

Mayor Margot Garant was visibly moved emotionally while presenting the officers with the proclamations. She thanked them for their service and dedication to the community.

Tomaszewski indicated this was not the first time members of his constabulary were called into action to save a life using Narcan, and that Port Jeff code officers are encouraged to undergo Narcan training on their own time should it be needed in the line of duty.

Murdocco and Vinicombe were honored by the board in 2016 after they responded to an opioid overdose at the Islandwide Taxi stand near the Port Jefferson Long Island Rail Road station. Garant said when honoring them during a February 2016 meeting that the officers were told the young victim was dead, and they found no pulse or respiration. Murdocco and Vinicombe each administered the anti-overdose medication Narcan and Murdocco performed CPR.

Tomaszewski also indicated the importance in code officers receiving Narcan training because in situations involving overdoses time is of the essence, and they are able to be on the scene of an incident faster in most cases than Suffolk County police. Tomazewski encouraged all members of the public to undergo Narcan training to be ready in the case of an emergency.

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