Quick-thinking Prince William Co. first responders come to aid of official who collapsed at public meeting

When former Prince William County Supervisor John Stirrup collapsed at the podium during a public board meeting Tuesday night, some quick-acting sheriff’s deputies and first responders — who happened to be in the audience for a discussion about employee pay raises — leapt into action.

“Within seconds, they were rendering aid to him,” Prince William County Sheriff Glen Hill told WTOP of two sheriff’s duties who attended to Stirrup. “And of course a few seconds later, people from Fire and Rescue were also in the audience and they came over to revive him.”

Hill added, “Certainly they are trained in how to perform first aid. They are certainly experienced deputies and they’ve all had the training. And they just sprung into action and put their training into action.”

Also in the audience were county firefighters. A member of the firefighter’s union says when the Stirrup became unresponsive, which happened shortly after deputies reached him, firefighters began CPR.

Stirrup, who served on the board from 2003 to 2011 and is now running for a state delegate seat, was making comments about a rise in crime in the county during the public comment session of the board meeting when he collapsed and fell to the ground, InsideNova reported.

Video available online shows Stirrup speaking at the microphone before the image is replaced by a blue screen, and Board Chair Ann Wheeler’s voice is heard saying, “We are going to take a recess.”

A Facebook post on the John Stirrup for Delegate Facebook page posted later Tuesday night said he was taken to the hospital. “John is now feeling much better, resting and even telling a few dad jokes to the hospital staff,” the post stated, adding that he is “incredibly grateful for the first responders, medical team, and all those who have reached out and offered prayers and support.”

Hill told WTOP the sheriff’s deputies were in the audience for the board’s budget markup session, during which supervisors were set to discuss details of the proposed $1.6 billion budget for the 2024 fiscal year.

Among the proposals is a proposed 9.8% pay raise for sheriff’s deputies — a 6.8% base raise and another 3% in step and merit raises.

While the proposed pay bumps were called “historic highs” by County Executive Christopher Shorter when the budget proposal was introduced, the proposed pay increase for the sheriff’s office is far less than a 17% increase for police officers approved by the board in December.

“Of course we’re certainly concerned about the pay increase for deputy sheriffs,” Hill said. “So a number of us were at the board meeting to see what the recommendation’s going to be for the pay raise for deputy sheriff’s.”

The fortuitous reason behind the firefighters being in attendance was also to advocate for a pay raise and bring the department in line with other regional departments.

The budget markup has been rescheduled for Tuesday.

When the board came back into session Tuesday after Stirrup’s collapse, Shorter thanked first responders.

“What we saw in this response was absolutely amazing, and we want to thank you very much,” he said as board members and people in the audience rose to applaud.

“It just warms your heart … I’m just proud to be part of an organization — and work with people — that responds quickly in and helps the public anytime there’s an emergency,” Hill said.

Editor’s note: Story is updated to include details of resuscitation efforts of the county’s professional firefighters. WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

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Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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