Anaheim Police Sergeant Retires With Life-Saving Final Mission

During 40 years on the force, Sgt. Tom Mathisen saved three lives and never fired his gun at another person.

By Vikki Vargas and Samantha Tata
|  Thursday, Dec 20, 2012  |  Updated 6:32 AM PDT
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Sgt. Tom Mathisen has spent 40 years with the Anaheim Police Department. In that time, he's saved two lives and earned a Medal of Valor. Mathisen spent his final days on the force as a hero for one Orange County family. Vikki Vargas reports from Anaheim for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2012.

Vikki Vargas

Sgt. Tom Mathisen has spent 40 years with the Anaheim Police Department. In that time, he's saved two lives and earned a Medal of Valor. Mathisen spent his final days on the force as a hero for one Orange County family. Vikki Vargas reports from Anaheim for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2012.

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With two days left on the job, Sgt. Tom Mathisen was called in for a final life-saving mission after a 15-month-old boy fell into a backyard swimming pool.

The 40-year veteran of the force arrived at the home on Cliffrose Street in about a minute and was among the first responders to arrive. Pumped on adrenaline and trained in CPR, Mathisen performed CPR on the baby boy, who survived.

The sergeant has saved two other lives, both heart attack victims, during his career. He was never fired upon nor did he ever fire his gun at another person.

Mathisen grew up in Anaheim and joined the force in 1972. He said he wanted to become a police officer since he was a child, but it’s time to step aside.

"New people in need of being promoted, so the opportunity now is presenting itself for that to happen, so it’s like another generation coming on the department to take the lead," he said.

Still, he admits it’ll be difficult to retire.

"Part of the blood, I guess," Mathisen said with tears in his eyes.

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