PETERBOROUGH — Within the first hour of his first shift as a Peterborough police officer, Christopher Danksewicz saved a life.
The recent graduate from the New Hampshire police academy and his field training officer, Joey Sweeney, were called to an apartment complex on Summer Street in Peterborough on Aug. 23, where a man was unconscious. The officers responded because they were closer than medical personnel.
When they got there, the man's wife was attempting to perform CPR, and Danksewicz said he jumped right in to help.
Danksewicz, of Bedford, gave the patient chest compressions and then used an automated external defibrillator, which revived him before paramedics arrived about five minutes later.
In addition to his police training, the Franklin Pierce University alumnus said he used his first-aid training from working as a part-time police officer in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, last year.
"I was kind of in shock at first," said Danksewicz, 22, "but I acted like any other human would and tried to save a life."
The patient — who is thought to have had a heart attack — was taken to a hospital in Manchester for further treatment, according to a Friday news release from Peterborough Police Chief Scott Guinard.
The man is thought to be alive but under sedation at the hospital, Danksewicz said Wednesday.
Just a week prior, Danksewicz had received his certification from the New Hampshire police academy in Concord, a 16-week program that trains all new police officers in the state. The Massachusetts native graduated from Franklin Pierce in May with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
Danksewicz was hired that same month by the Peterborough Police Department before attending the academy, which is typical. He said he will work with Sweeney for the next four months as part of his department training.
Guinard said Danksewicz's actions show the diverse roles officers perform daily.
"I am very proud of Chris and his training officer for jumping into action so quickly to perform a heroic act," Guinard said in an email to The Sentinel.
While Danksewicz said his first shift wasn't what he expected, it reflected why he wanted to become a police officer in the first place — to look after the residents in his community.
"I want to help people who can’t help themselves," he said, "like vulnerable people and people like this who are in need."