SWEET HOME — Sgt. Chris Wingo was recently recognized with a Medal of Valor from the Oregon Police Officers Association, in recognition of his successful efforts to save a potential suicide victim last March.
Wingo was able to talk an armed man with mental health issues who was threatening suicide in the parking lot of the Sweet Home Senior Center into seeking help.
“He is a fantastic officer for us,” Chief Jeff Lynn said. “He has brought a lot to our department. He is heavily involved in our training and trains new officers from around the state. We are fortunate to have him.”
In March, Wingo was named Employee of the Year by the Sweet Home Police Department. At that time, Community Services Officer Gina Riley praised Wingo for taking control of the potentially dangerous situation through his calm manner, speech and extensive training.
Riley said Wingo is known in the department for his levelheadedness. She said he cares about and has compassion for his fellow employees and the community in general.
Wingo has been a Sweet Home officer for 11 years and was promoted to sergeant in July.
“It’s a great honor to receive this award,” he said. “I’m humbled by the show of appreciation and being nominated.”
Wingo enjoys his job because he “likes being able to help the community. I’m able to be an asset doing something I enjoy.”
He's held numerous positions within the department including patrol officer, defensive tactics instructor, bike patrol officer, school resource officer, women’s self-defense instructor, Citizen’s Police Academy instructor, field training officer, Linn SWAT member, team runner in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics and participant in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.
Wingo also is an instructor at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.
This isn't the first time he's been recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty. In 2014, Wingo received the department’s Life Saving Award for defusing a potential suicide attempt at a local trailer park.
Wingo had responded to a report of a stabbing and when he arrived at the trailer, he found a man on a kitchen floor covered in blood, due to a self-inflicted stab wound to his right leg. He had cut an artery.
“It was high up on his leg,” Wingo said at the time. “I applied pressure and assisted the medics in treating the wound and preparing him for transport. It was definitely a different kind of day. It was nighttime and dark outside.”
The injured man was transported to the hospital. He survived.
At that time, Fire District Battalion Chief Ken Weld and police officer Geoff Hamlin wrote letters nominating Wingo for his recognition.
"To put this in perspective, I felt that if EMS were even a minute or two later intervening with what the patient had inflicted on himself, the patient would have died by bleeding out,” Weld wrote. “Officer Wingo's quick thinking and actions definitely played a role in this person surviving a tragic self-inflicted wound, and I feel he deserves to be recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty."
Lynn praised “Wingo’s actions and dedication to duty and the community during this event in keeping with the highest standards of law enforcement.”
Wingo is a 1993 Oakridge High School graduate and studied business at Oregon State University. He became a reserve police officer in Albany in 2002 and became a full-time officer in Sweet Home in 2007.
Wingo and his wife, Amy, have three children and two granddaughters.