Retiring Cop's Final Act of Heroism

A few days until retirement, 30-year veteran saves woman

By Jessica Greene
|  Friday, Jan 15, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 AM PDT
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The San Jose police Department is about to retire another hero.

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Darrell Cortez is almost a retiree but this short-timer is not ready to hang up his hero hat.

The 30-year veteran of the San Jose Police Department performed an act of heroism during his final week on patrol, bringing a woman back from the brink of death.

Cortez spotted a woman hanging from a tree in downtown San Jose Thursday and went into action. Her feet were dangling from the ground, a chair sat nearby. He and his partner cut the woman down from the tree and Cortez started giving her chest compressions.

The woman, 71 years old and mentally ill, had no pulse and was not breathing. She began breathing just as paramedics arrived. Cortez says the woman may have been upset about a plan to move her from her current independent living facility to another one in Santa Cruz.

Cortez has been honored for his work with youth groups and plans to continue his work as state president of the Latino Peace Officers' Association after he retires, he tells the Mercury News.

He only has a few more days of work left until his retirement begins but you can be sure this hero won't miss a beat.

"That's what we are here for," the 52-year-old told the Tribune. "We protect property and save lives. She came back to life. That's what we are trained to do."

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