Since March 20 the CHP academy in Sacramento has been temporarily closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. But for the last seven weeks, 177 cadets currently attending the academy have been assigned to local CHP offices, mostly doing administrative work.
The cadets also have been given the opportunity to take part in ride-alongs with veteran officers, and it’s giving them a first-hand look at life as an officer.
On May 7, one of the cadets took part in an emergency call that potentially helped save the life of a driver who had passed out unconscious on the side of the freeway.
“We got a call of a vehicle that was disabled that needed some medical attention,” said cadet Bradley Murrill, 22, from Beaumont. Murrill is currently working out of the CHP San Gorgonio Pass office.
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Murrill and his ride-along officer James Eagleman performed CPR on the driver, helping him regain his pulse. The man had pulled off the side of State Route 79 near Gilman Springs Road. Paramedics soon arrived and the victim regained consciousness and is now recovering.
It was a proud moment for a cadet, who is six weeks away from graduating from the academy once it reopens.
"Some may call him a hero, I would probably call it just another day working for the highway patrol," Murill said. "Right now, I’m not an officer, I’m a cadet. I hope to be an officer one day and be able to continue to serve the community at my best."
Murrill has a lifelong connection to the CHP, his father a veteran officer. A younger Murrill can recall his father graduating from the academy in 2003.
“I was four, but I remember seeing that gold badge on my dad’s chest, and it became a very special moment for my family,” Murrill said.
For now, there is no timetable on when the CHP academy will reopen. The cadets will pick up training where they left off.
For now, they’re stationed at local CHP offices nearest to their home towns.
“Something that I’ve learned from it, is you always have to be prepared,” said Karla Gonzalez, 23, from Chula Vista.
“This is just another part of our story that we get to share with our friends and family once we graduate,” said Mike Morrison, 33, from San Marcos.