A group of inmates recently saved a deputy sheriff who had collapsed due to the humid Georgia heat instead of escaping, Time Magazine reported Tuesday.
The six Polk County jail inmates were cutting grass at a local cemetery, when the deputy sheriff who was supervising them passed out from extreme humidity and a previous medical condition, Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats said according to Time.
“They could have taken the gun, got the work van and gone,” Moats told TIME. “They could have done anything they wanted. They were out there by themselves with this one officer. If they would have left him there, it could have been hours before anyone came across him.”
All six prisoners immediately came to the officer’s aid, calling 911 on his cellphone and taking his vest off to try to keep him cool.
“When that happened, in my opinion, it wasn’t about who is in jail and who wasn’t. It was about a man going down, and we had to help him,” inmate Greg Williams told local TV station WXIA, according to USA Today.
“They stayed right there with him [and] if he didn’t have any help, I don’t know what would have happened to him,” Moats said. “That really speaks a lot about my officers too, how they treat these inmates. They treat them like people. Like family,” he added. The officer recovered and was back at work Tuesday.
The inmates’ rescue of the officer came just days after the end of a manhunt for two other Georgia inmates who killed two prison guards before escaping.
The sheriff’s office rewarded the inmates — who were all jailed for minor criminal offenses — with a picnic. The office also shared a Facebook post praising the inmates for their actions.