PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBS12) — Port St. Lucie Police Department (PSLPD) officers are getting a new piece of equipment to help them stay safe at all hours of the night.
This comes after PSLPD Officer Richard Mazzio was hit by a car and thrown over the hood while directing traffic at a nighttime crash last October. The terrifying scene was caught on body-camera.
Mazzio recently returned to the force.
“I had trouble walking. I walked with a cane. I was hunched over. At that time, I actually had a broken foot, didn’t even know it, I was walking around on a broken foot," Mazzio recalled. "I’m happy to be upright. I’m happy to be alive. Some people do not make it through this type of accident.”
Today, his wish from his hospital bed — for more safety equipment to protect officers in the field — came true.
All PSLPD officers have now been outfitted with a guardian angel light. With the push of a button, officers are easily visible, no matter the time of day or the situation they're in.
“Most people will wear it high up on the shoulder," continued Dan Keller of Guardian Angel Devices, as he clipped a light on his shoulder and turned it on. "Particularly for law enforcement, it allows them to conduct their job duties while being hands free.”
“Every officer will be equipped with this equipment, as we always focus on continuous improvements and making sure that we have the best for our officers," said PSLPD Chief Richard del Toro. "We want them the best, we’ve got to give them the best in order to do that.”
Mazzio hopes these lights, which the developers claim to be visible as far as five miles away, find their way to officers everywhere.
“Maybe I set a trend, maybe somebody watches this from another department, and other officers are being helped," Mazzio remarked. "Hopefully, this is the beginning of something very beautiful.”
While Mazzio says he’s more comfortable being back in the field with the lights on, he says stopping distracted driving is the ultimate fix.
“Slow down, you’re never good to anybody if you don’t make it there," Mazzio stated. "They’re a tool, but the tool starts with the public. It doesn’t start with us.”
Again, the next time you see flashing lights at any scene, please slow down for your sake and for those outside your vehicle.