Lt. Colonel Larry Austin, Trooper McNair and Major Miguel Guzman
The Minority Law Enforcement Council was proud to honor Trooper Archie O. McNair, Jr. as their 2002 Officer of the Year for Palm Beach County during a recent awards ceremony.
On August 7, 2002, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary Lieutenant James Porter was driving west on Lake Worth Road in Palm Beach County, following Trooper McNair. In his rearview mirror, Trooper McNair observed Lt. Porter’s vehicle slowing in the westbound traffic lane, leaving the roadway, and then entering a canal and becoming totally submerged. Trooper McNair, who is not a good swimmer, made a quick u-turn, entered the canal and found Lt. Porter semi-unconscious and trapped in the vehicle.
Trooper McNair held onto the submerged vehicle and attempted to open the door, but was unable to do so. Trooper McNair remained in the water and instructed a bystander to obtain his PR-24 baton from his patrol vehicle. He then used the baton to break the passenger side window and, with the assistance of two motorists, was able to remove Lt. Porter from the vehicle. Lt. Porter was transported to Wellington Hospital where he was admitted overnight for testing and observations.
Because of Trooper McNair’s heroic action, Auxiliary Lt. Porter received only minor injuries and has returned to active duty. As Lt. Porter has often remarked, "I know I am alive today because of Trooper McNair’s actions."
Trooper McNair, a 21-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol, is assigned to Troop L-Lantana, where he serves as Troop Background Investigator.