Dickson, Tennessee – A quick response from School Resource Officer (SRO) Tabitha Jennette from the Dickson Police Department averted a potential tragedy at Centennial Elementary School on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Jennette’s vigilance saved the life of fifth-grader Emma Jeppsen, who was choking during lunchtime.

Officer Jennette noticed a commotion at a cafeteria table around 12:15 pm and rushed to investigate. Upon arrival, she found students signaling that Emma was in distress. Without hesitation, Jennette administered the Heimlich maneuver, effectively dislodging the obstructing food from Emma’s throat.

Lieutenant Jessica Blackwell of the Dickson Police Department’s Special Services Division commended Officer Jennette’s swift action, stating, “SRO Jennette saw that the student was indeed choking and had her stand up. She then began to perform the Heimlich maneuver to successfully dislodge the food from the student’s throat.”

Following the incident, Emma was escorted to the nurse’s station for examination and was deemed to be in good health. Officer Jennette then returned to the cafeteria, where she expressed gratitude to the students—Shaylin Orton, Camden Lewis, and Chloe Smith—who promptly alerted her to Emma’s distress. Officer Jennette treated them to ice cream as a token of appreciation for their alertness.

Principal Erica Logan praised Officer Jennette’s positive impact on the school community, highlighting her dedication to building relationships with students and staff. Assistant Chief of Police Seth Lyles emphasized the importance of SROs in fostering trust and confidence among students.

The Dickson Police Department assigns nine SROs across six public schools in the city, ensuring a strong presence and support for student safety. Officer Jennette’s heroic actions underscore the invaluable role of SROs in school environments.