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19 February 2016

Officers turn off police car lights for girl with epilepsy

Police officers in Suisun, California, US, turned off their flashing lights to help prevent a young girl from having a seizure.

Suisun City police were stopping traffic with their cars flashing blue lights.  Nearby resident Sarah Gwaltney realised the lights were flashing across her daughter, Noelle's bedroom and immediately ran outside.

She told the police officers that their flashing lights were putting Noelle at risk of a photosensitive epileptic seizure.

Ms Gwaltney described how the officers quickly responded and turned off their car lights so as to reduce the risk of Noelle having a seizure.

It was only a few days later that the officers learnt just how much their simple act meant to the family. After the incident, Noelle and her mother visited the police department. Noelle brought coffee mugs for the officers and gave a speech during their briefing.

“We didn’t realize the potential impact until she contacted us,” Sgt. Jeremy Crone said.

“It was awesome,” Sgt. Crone said. “She did a fantastic job.”

Noelle’s epilepsy was diagnosed when she was 20 months old. Her seizures can be  triggered by flashing or LED lights, include caffeine and cigarette smoke.

In spite of the daily challenges, Noelle, who loves roller coasters and going to the aquarium, is using her experience to give talks and raise awareness about her condition.