EPD Officer collapses in road

EPD Officer Pat Welch, shown in this file photo when she received national certification from the Traffic Injury Prevention Institute. 

Eatonton Police Officer has heart attack on job


An Eatonton Police Department officer suffered a heart attack while directing traffic Thursday morning, and is recovering at an Athens hospital.

Officer Pat Welch was on Oak Street at Old Glenwood Springs Road directing traffic headed to Putnam County Primary School for the start of the school day, when she collapsed.  The officer  was taken immediately by ambulance to Piedmont Athens Regional hospital, where doctors treated her and are watching her; she is “holding her own,” and members of her family are there with her, Police Chief Kent Lawrence said.

“I really am grateful to all the citizens who stopped right away to help her, doing CPR and calling EMS,” he said, adding that he would hate to think what would’ve happened had they not helped.

Welch is a veteran on Eatonton’s police force, handling road patrol, and filling in as dispatcher. She also has National Certification in Child Passenger Safety and is a member of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS).

In May 2014, EPD Officer Noel Hawk also suffered a heart attack and died while on the job handling an incident. Officer Welch made a memorial in Hawk’s honor that is displayed in the entryway of the police station.

-- Lynn Hobbs

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