MISSION – Officers Jonathan Lehman and Daniel Foreman of the Umatilla Tribal Police Department were given commendations on Jan. 17 after saving a 6-year-old girl from a dog attack.
According to the UTPD, the two officers were patrolling near Aspen Way at approximately 11 a.m. on Jan. 17 when they noticed the girl interacting with a German Shepherd near the back of a residence.
The interaction became dangerous as the dog knocked the girl to the ground and aggressively bit onto the back of her head and drug her along the ground, states the commendation letter.
According to the UTPD, the officers got out of their patrol vehicle and yelled at the dog to stop. The dog let go of the girl as officers got between her and the dog but then circled them several times trying to get to the child again, UTPD officials said. Officials added that Lehman drew his duty pistol to protect the child. The dog made a sudden rapid movement toward the three of them, and Lehman fired a round using a safe downward angle missing the dog as it ran off.
“Because of your attention and decisive action, the child was not seriously harmed by the dog and was reunited with their mother. Had you not been patrolling in that area and aware of the surroundings, this attack on the child would have been serious and would have been disastrous for the child, their family, and the community as a whole,” the commendation letter states.
Lehman, a law enforcement officer of 17-plus years, said he didn’t get into law enforcement for recognition but recognizes how commendations can build morale. “We just happened to be at the right place at the right time and did what we would do for anybody to try and save a life or save somebody from being physically injured,” he said.
Foreman said he and Lehman were fortunate to be in the location and that they only reacted accordingly. “Being able to save a person’s life makes everything truly worth it,” he said.
According to the UTPD, medics evaluated the child for injuries, which included redness on her head from the dog’s teeth and a bruised arm.
The dog’s owner was issued several citations, including one for dog bite. He was also provided an Umatilla Tribal Court date and was directed to keep his dogs secured until the court resolves the matter.