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In ‘once-in-a-career’ call, Groton Town police officer delivers baby

August 1, 2018

Groton — A Groton Town police officer experienced a “once-in-a-career” call when he went to Deerwood Drive and delivered a healthy baby Saturday, Chief Louis J. Fusaro Jr. said.

Officer Marvel Bennett. (Courtesy of Groton Town Police Department)

Officer Marvel Bennett, who works midnights, said he was on meal break when he heard the call for an “imminent pregnancy” about 5 a.m.

“I rushed there,” said Bennett, who is in his sixth year with the force. “I was hoping to be first on scene.”

Bennett found soon-to-be father Andrew Bireley standing outside the home, which is considered Navy housing. Bireley’s wife, Allison, was upstairs in the bathroom, less than two minutes away from giving birth.

His hopes realized, Bennett went upstairs, remaining calm and focusing on keeping the baby away from germs once he was out of the womb.

“They train you for this but it’s nothing like when you walk into the room,” he said. “It didn’t take long at all — I was maybe there for two minutes.”

“When the dispatcher said ‘imminent’ child birth ... that’s a word kept close to the chest,” Bennett said. “I had a feeling this would happen.”

Bennett said seven or eight others — police, firefighters, EMTs — arrived within minutes. Emergency medical services took over and transported Allison and her new son, Corey Alexander, to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.

Fusaro said mother and child are healthy.

Bennett said he wasn’t worried about the medical aspect of the call. He was refreshed on the process during an emergency medical responder recertification course last year and watched his wife give birth to his daughter two years ago.

Fusaro said some officers might not have been so collected.

“You get trained on (baby delivery) in the (Connecticut Police) Academy,” he said. “They show you a video. ... I remember some guys virtually passing out.”

Fusaro, who was with state police before he came to Groton, said he never had to deliver a baby.

Neither did Deputy Chief Paul Gately, who also came to Groton from the state police.

“You fall back on your training and it just kind of kicks in,” Gately said. “This emphasizes the importance of having the training.”

Fusaro called it a “high-five moment.”

“In police work, you rarely get to run into the good things,” he said.

Bennett said although it was nerve-wracking to deliver a baby, the outcome brought him a “really good feeling,” especially after his shift began with him performing CPR on an elderly man.

“It was a tough night,” he said. “I definitely had to go home and talk with my wife afterward.”

Bennett usually checks in with families when he handles incidents involving young children, he said, but he didn’t have time in this case — his shift ends at 7:30 a.m.

“I don’t know how long I’m going to be (in Groton) ... but maybe one day I’ll run into the child going to high school across the street at Fitch,” he said. “Who knows?

“I’ll never forget the name, that’s for sure.”

l.boyle@theday.com

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