It is a call every parent fears and one even the most hardened police officer dreads — child in distress.
And when Officers Michael Cerullo, Celica Harbus and Wendy Roque of the 105th Precinct responded to such a call on May 22 in Queens Village, the situation awaiting them was about as bad as it could get, with a 12-year-old girl hanging herself, reportedly due largely to cyberbullying.
The three officers were honored as Cops of the Month at the June 27 meeting of the 105th Precinct Community Council for their efforts on behalf of the girl and her family.
“When it’s a child, it’s the worst,” said Deputy Inspector Michael Coyle, commanding officer of the 105th. “Officer Cerullo wasn’t even on patrol that night. He was working crime prevention in plain clothes, but he responded.
The room was terribly hot, and they did not know how long the girl had been there before she was found by family members.
They immediately began CPR and applied an automatic external heart defibrillator, which sometimes can shock a stopped or irregularly beating heart back into rhythm.
They pulled out all stops until EMS personnel arrived at the family’s home.
“Unfortunately, this one didn’t have a happy ending,” Coyle said.
The girl died without regaining consciousness.
Their plaques were presented at the council’s final meeting of the year, this one held at the St. Clare Catholic Academy, located in Rosedale near the 105th’s satellite station.
The inscriptions read “In recognition of excellence and professionalism exhibited in the line of duty.”
“If your child is ever in trouble, these are the kind of cops you want showing up,” Coyle said.