Parker police officer gets hero award

In his rookie year, the officer saved several lives


Parker residents Jayde and Garrett Budd had just started their day of working on crafts when something went horribly wrong.

Garrett, who was working on an electrical woodburning project, screamed and fell to the floor. He had suffered a bad electric shock.

When Officer Landon Guzzo, 27, heard the 911 alert from dispatch, he realized he was one street over from the Budds' home in Stroh Ranch. He raced to the scene on Sept. 16 to find Jayde, Garrett's wife, giving him CPR.

“I was panicking and crying, obviously,” Jayde later said.

When Guzzo took over CPR, Garrett, 27, didn't have any pulse and wasn't breathing. Still, he continued the life-saving measure until another officer arrived on scene with a defibrillator. They shocked the father of two and suddenly, he had a pulse again.

“He was dead for a full four minutes,” Jayde said.

A few minutes later, Garrett awoke in the ambulance. He was confused, but alive. He spent 24 hours in the hospital before returning home to the couples' two boys, ages 1 and 4.

“Coming home to my kids, I broke down,” he said. “I'm usually not the one to cry but I was crying. And there were lots of hugs.”

For most officers, this type of life-saving event happens once or twice in a career. For Guzzo, who was still in his first year on the job, this was his fifth. Following these events, the American Red Cross named Guzzo as one of six Heroes of the Year for Colorado and Wyoming.

“This is what I became a cop to do,” he said. “I'm privileged enough to have the honor to do it.”

Guzzo, who grew up in Douglas County and graduated from Douglas County High School, has wanted to be in law enforcement for as long as he can remember, he said.

In early 2019, he was hired by the Parker Police Department and by November 24, 2019, he was a solo officer. The first life-saving event of his career happened that morning.

In his first-ever call as a solo officer, Guzzo responded to reports from a woman whose husband was unconscious. He started life-saving measures and after being transported to the hospital, the man survived.

One of his three other life-saving calls happened later that same week. 

“The adrenaline starts pumping but at the same time (with) the amount of training the police department provides officers, you get on scene and know what you're going to do,” Guzzo said. 

One of the calls included administering NARCAN to a man who had overdosed. In another call, he gave CPR after a 17-year-old girl collapsed due to a heart condition that had been unknown at the time. 

In all five cases, the patients survived. For the majority of them, Guzzo had been the first person on the scene.

“I don't consider myself a hero,” he said. “I'm just doing my job.”

Since their near-death experience, the Budd family has steered clear of electrical woodburning, Garrett said. Instead the family has spent the last few months working on classic cars and motorcycles, enjoying time with family and working on Garrett's recovery.

“We're just a little bit more grateful,” Jayde said. “(Guzzo) definitely deserves (the award) … we're incredibly thankful to him and the quick response that was given.”

Guzzo says just knowing that the Budd children still have their father gives him a new level of appreciation for his day-to-day work. 

“That's what I joined the police agency to be,” he said. “I wanted to change people's lives.”


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