SAN JOSE, Calif. - Two top cops with the San Jose Police Department found themselves at the center of the nation’s fentanyl crisis.
The officers jumped into action and saved the life of a victim who was suffering a medical emergency.
San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata and Assistant Chief Paul Joseph were having lunch together at a restaurant in a shopping center on Coleman Avenue near police headquarters Monday afternoon.
The assistant chief said the drama started about 20-seconds after the pair exited the restaurant.
"As we were walking to our car a vehicle pulled up and woman yelled for help," said Joseph.
Joseph said the driver of the car immediately told the two officers that her boyfriend in the passenger seat had just ingested an unknown substance.
Joseph said the need for immediate medical help was obvious.
"And that is what I suspected was fentanyl or some other kind of opioid just based on how he appeared. He was in and out of consciousness, his breathing was somewhat labored," Joseph explained.
Since 2020 all San Jose police department patrol officers carry and have been trained on how to use the opioid reversal agent Narcan.
But the chief and assistant chief don't carry it in their vehicles so they quickly placed a call for extra help.
The nearest officer was on site within minutes and quickly administered two doses of the reversal agent.
"I was a little concerned because that one did not seem to work," Joseph said. "He (the arriving officer) said to me ‘just give it a minute, it takes a little while to kick in.’ And sure enough, within about 30 to 60 seconds, the gentlemen started to come around," Joseph said.
Fentanyl- related medical emergencies and deaths have been on the rise in both Santa Clara County and the nation.
Police said it's commonly mixed with other drugs, and officers are now trained to expect fentanyl calls like this one.
"Procedurally, as we go along with our department, we know that this epidemic has not ended. We want to make people aware of it but more so that we want to be prepared for it," said Officer Steven Aponte, a spokesperson for SJPD.
Joseph said he is glad that he and Chief Anthony Mata were in the right place at the right time in order to help the man in distress.
"I was very grateful that Chief Mata and I were there. And I am very grateful that our units with Narcan were able to respond as quickly as they did," Joseph said.
San Jose police say the information they have is that the victim was stabilized once he arrived at the hospital and is expected to recover.
At this point no arrests have been made nor any charges filed in this case, although a white powdery substance was removed from the vehicle and has been booked as evidence.