A Massachusetts police officer is winning praise for heroically helping a woman in labor bring a new life into the new year.
Agawam Police Officer Zack Hall was on duty on New Year's Day when he responded to an emergency call around 2:45 a.m. A woman had contacted emergency authorities after going into labor without time to get to the hospital.
"Officer Hall quickly responded and helped mom deliver this healthy baby girl," the Agawam Police Department said in a Facebook post. "Congratulations, Mom, Dad, and baby Sophia!"
Officer's Hall's wife Melissa, who is also a police officer, responded with a comment praising her husband: "My hubs!!! So proud of him!!! Congrats to the parents!!!"
"[H]e was literally beaming," the department wrote back. "It was good to see! Its a nice change-a happy call instead of the usual stuff!! Happy New Years! Stay safe!"
"We're all proud of him," the department added.
In an interview with People magazine after the extraordinary birthday, Hall said the moment was surreal and was "unlike anything I've ever felt."
"I was there to help bring a new life brought into this world, all while trying to remain calm for the nervous parents," he said. "I feel proud and lucky that I had the opportunity to help this family and their beautiful new baby. It's not something many police officers witness."
Officer Hall described the encounter and explained at first he wasn't nervous because he didn't immediately understand how close the mother was to giving birth. But then things started to happen very quickly.
"It was when I saw the baby's father running out of the house that I realized the mother was about to give birth at any moment. I just ran into the house ready to help," he explained. "As a cop, you don't really have the time to focus on nerves or emotions. We just do what we are trained to do."
Melissa Hall told People that she wasn't surprised that her husband acted quickly, noting that police officers receive training for these types of situations.
"We go through first responder training that helps us in such a situation, but we never really expect to be a part of such a special moment," she said. "I am so proud of him and everything he does for the community every day. ... I know he truly loves being able to help others.
"Anyone can clearly see how he's beaming with pride in that photo, as he should be," she added, referring to the photo posted by the APD. "He didn't hesitate to help those parents or their newborn baby and helped bring a new life into this world. What a way to ring in the new year!"
Zack Hall hopes that this story will give people a more positive image of the police and remind them of the good work that they do.
"There are good and bad people in this society that we, as police, interact with every single day — just as there are good and bad police officers that the public interacts with every single day," he said. "It's so nice to get positive feedback from the community, especially during a time when most of what the world seems to focus on lately is only the negative.
"At the end of the day, all cops want to do is help make their communities a little bit better for future generations," he continued. "As nice as it is for everyone to acknowledge my actions, it should also be acknowledged the bravery of the parents in such a crazy situation. We were all in it together, and I couldn't be happier for them."