UMPD Officer Honored for Heroic Actions in Response to Car Crash

Bianca Dixon of the UMass Police Department was one of eight police academy recruits from Western Massachusetts recently recognized for their quick-thinking actions in aiding victims of a serious motor vehicle crash.

On January 25, 2024, Dixon and her fellow recruits were enroute to an off-site training location away from the Holyoke Police Academy when they encountered a serious motor vehicle crash in the Holyoke area. The crash victims had suffered significant injuries requiring immediate medical attention and needed to be extricated from the vehicle. As the academy student officers approached the cars involved, they observed deployed airbags, extensive vehicle damage and one car in flames. Dixon and the other quick-thinking student officers jumped into action, contacting local emergency services, immediately rendering aid and making every effort to stabilize the crash scene until first responders arrived.

Bianca Dixon
UMPD's Bianca Dixon, far left, and seven other Holyoke Police Academy recruits were recognized for their actions in aiding car crash victims on Jan. 25.

In a ceremony held Feb. 15 at the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) Holyoke Academy, Dixon and the other officers were recognized for their efforts.

“Although she started with us in October and doesn’t complete the academy until mid-March, she used her skills and training to assist community members in need,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor and UMPD Chief Tyrone Parham, who attended the ceremony. “We’re extremely proud of Officer Dixon and can’t wait for her to complete her training, as she will be a great addition to our UMPD team and campus community.”

Bianca Dixon
Dixon receives her certificate.

“These student officers didn’t hesitate to use lessons from their academy training, moving swiftly to remove a victim from their vehicle, extinguish flames, and mitigate for obvious hazards,” said MPTC Holyoke Academy Director Michele Lyons. “Their remarkable action and compassionate approach to victims during a life-threatening situation is truly exemplary.” 

MPTC student officers receive over 800 hours of curriculum during the course of the academy, designed to prepare them to perform their duties safely and effectively. Student officers receive uniform training based on best practices related to essential modern-day policing needs, including CPR and first aid, effective communication skills, victim-centered and trauma-informed incident response, mental health-related emergency response, active shooter and hostile event response, patrol duties, and officer safety and wellness.