Proposed ordinance would protect Good Samaritans rescuing children or pets from overheated cars

Should Good Samaritans receive protections when trying to save a life?

The Lincoln city council is tackling that question with a public hearing on Monday.

A new ordinance has been proposed by councilman James Michael Bowers.

It focuses on situations where a person is trying to rescue a child or pet from a hot car.

Around the country, 15 other states have laws protecting citizens who take it upon themselves to get an animal or child out of danger.

The law would remove the gray area and allow people to act with confidence as long as they follow some specific steps.

“You cannot put a value on life. If it means that a child would live or die, I would, law or not, break into a car to save a life,” said Jill Baker, a Lincoln mother.

To receive protections, a person would need to follow some specific steps, such as;

Having a reasonable belief a child or animal is in danger and first making a reasonable attempt to find the owner, calling 911 to notify authorities, not interfering with police commands, and first confirming the vehicle is locked before breaking in.

Bowers’ ordinance requires that people complying with the law use no more force than necessary.

“Damaging a car, it is expensive and hard to replace, but the child or pet inside, is way more valuable, indescribably more valuable,” said Allison Newman, a Lincoln woman.

Parker Mcvay is from Texas, where there is already a law like this.

He says law or not, he’d jump into action to save a life.

“If I see a child in there, or if I see somebody who is physically exhausted, there is going to be a point where I’m not going to wait any longer, I’m going to grab a rock or something on the side of the road and take care of it and get them out of there safely,” said Mcvay.

In Lincoln, no deaths have been reported for a child or pet dying in a hot locked car so far in 2019.

LPD recommends you call them before taking matters into your own hands.

Councilman James Michael Bowers says his ordinance would remove the gray area and allow people to act with confidence in saving a life.

“People who have good intentions shouldn’t be punished for potentially saving a life,” said Newman.

The new ordinance is being discussed at a public hearing Monday afternoon at the county–city building.

We will update the story when we learn more about the direction the new ordinance is heading in.

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