Today, the Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs (WACOPS) named Washougal Police Officer Francis Reagan, Officer of the Year for a heroic water rescue on the Washougal River in May 2019. Founded in the 1950s, WACOPS is recognized as the largest organization representing law enforcement professionals across Washington State.
“There is no doubt that without [Officer Reagan’s] swift actions, the woman would have been lost to the river,” said WACOPS President Chris Tracy. “The WACOPS Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award is an honor not only for the recipient, but for our profession.”
The purpose of the Officer of the Year award is to recognize clearly exceptional and outstanding performance of duties which bring honor and distinction to the officer, the department and the profession. Candidates are nominated by their peers. The nominations are reviewed and a selection is made by the WACOPS executive board. Officer Reagan received his award at a ceremony in Olympia.
Heroic Water Rescue
On May 4, 2019, Officer Francis Reagan was one of the first to respond to a 911 call that a woman was screaming for help in the Washougal River. The woman had fallen from her inner tube while floating the river with a friend and became trapped by a rock in the rushing water. She quickly developed hypothermia and Officer Reagan directed his cover officers to tie two rescue lines together, then he put on his lifejacket and swam out to the woman. He held her head above water for twenty minutes before fire/rescue arrived. After a firefighter joined Officer Reagan in the water, it took another twenty minutes to free her. Her companion did not survive.
“I did not do it alone. I would like to thank Washougal Police Officers Ryan Castro and Trevor Claudson, along with Clark County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Marek and Camas/Washougal Fire Department Captain Josh Proctor,” said Officer Reagan. “Without them there would have been more casualties.”
Officer Reagan has been a member of the department since 2014 and is currently assigned to patrol. Prior to becoming a police officer, he served as a Navy SEAL and credits his training with giving him the skills to perform the rescue.
“We are extremely proud of Officer Francis Reagan and his unselfish action to protect the life of another,” said Chief Wendi Steinbronn.
For more information on the Washougal Police Department, visit www.cityofwashougal.us/205/Police.