S. Molly Dominick // Contributing Photographer
A UM student was walking along South Alhambra Circle when she suddenly was hit by a car in January this year. She suffered severe injuries to her legs. Although she was lying near the University of Miami Police Department (UMPD), she was likely to bleed to death before the first responders could arrive.
But someone on the scene got to her first. Another UM student, Niv Ron, removed his own shirt and crafted it into a tourniquet to help stop the bleeding. He then monitored her condition until emergency medical response found her. His actions saved her life.
Before coming to UM, Ron was a member of the Israeli army. There, he received the medical training that made his actions possible.
Ron was honored by the UMPD for his bravery in a ceremony Wednesday on the Rock. He was awarded a plaque by Ed Hudak, interim chief of police for the Coral Gables Police Department (GCPD), and shook hands with President Donna E. Shalala.
Alongside Ron, the UMPD awarded a second plaque to Eric Aragon for his heroic actions, received by his parents in his place. Aragon is not a UM student, but he visited the School of Communication in June 2014 when he witnessed a struggle in the Wolfson building between a university employee and an individual with a gun.
Aragon wrestled the weapon from the perpetrator, risking his life. He likely saved multiple lives, and the plaque honored him for “averting a potential tragedy on campus.”
UMPD Chief of Police David Rivero emphasized that students are a vital part of ensuring safety at UM because of their presence all around campus.
“We’re very involved in the community and need the community to help solve crimes,” he said. “They are our eyes and ears. We really couldn’t do it without them.”
According to Seán Fay, coordinator for Emergency Management, witnesses can play an important role when an incident occurs.
“Someone who leads in an emergency situation is not always an official,” he said. “The people on the scene can make a life or death difference. We really are the second responders; they are the first responders. In the situation with Niv Ron, the girl was injured right in front of the police department, but she would have bled to death if he hadn’t been there.”
The award ceremony was part of a larger event on the Rock celebrating the 45th anniversary of the UMPD, coordinated by Crime Prevention Officer John Gulla. Members of the UMPD and the CGPD attended, as did Shalala, who commended the coordination of the two departments.
“I’m very proud of the police department and their relationship with Coral Gables,” Shalala said at the ceremony. “They’ve done a wonderful job, and we’re very lucky to have them. This has been a very successful partnership.”
Hudak is a UM alumnus and former member of the UMPD. He called the university “home” and values the relationship between the CGPD and his alma mater.
“My job in law enforcement began here on campus, so I wanted to come back to see the department that gave me that opportunity,” Hudak said.
The event also hosted booths with safety information from other groups that coordinate with the UMPD. Responsible & Educated Drivers (RED), a national safe driving program founded by Miss UM 2014 Amber Dawn Butler, promoted pledges against texting and driving, alongside the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
“The FDOT is very grateful to UM and the UMPD for all they do in the community,” said Carlos Sarmiento, the coordinator of community traffic safety programs for FDOT. “We’re here to support them by producing additional resources that involve traffic safety educational materials with an emphasis on distracted driving awareness, as well as bicycle and pedestrian safety.”
The Canes Emergency Response Team (CERT), a student-led group that trains in disaster preparedness and rescue, was represented by its president Kyle Rosen to help expand the program in commemoration of Ron’s and Aragon’s life-saving efforts.
UMPD also showcased the soft launch of the new Rave Guardian smartphone application, designed to help keep students safe on and off campus. The application may be integrated into the UMiami application in the future for greater convenience.