The first week on his own as a Berlin Borough police officer was unlike any other in the department for Mark Peiffer.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21, Peiffer responded to a call in the parking lot of Paris Caterers along Berlin Cross Keys Road that a woman was in labor, and to his surprise, the child couldn’t wait for the hospital.
“We were in the area at another call actually when we got the call over the radio about a woman in labor,” said Peiffer. “I had no idea going in if she was early in labor or the baby was ready to be born. But after I got there I saw that the baby was ready to come out, I just stayed calm. My sergeant and officer Palma got there, and then shortly after, the EMTs did as well, but as they were getting their equipment out of the car, the baby started to crown and I heard the mom scream and I saw the head.”
Peiffer went over and quickly placed his hand on the baby’s head to secure it until the EMTs retrieved their equipment.
“Before I could even ask what to do next, the baby came out and I held on until the EMTs came over to clamp the cord, cut it and take care of the baby,” said Peiffer. “It was that quick. It was probably less than 10 minutes between the time I got there and when it happened.”
Peiffer was hired by the Berlin Borough Police Department approximately three months ago, however he had undergo months of FTO training, accompanying an officer for a period of time, before being able to go out on his own.
Within just two days of being by himself, Peiffer had already done something that no amount of time in the FTO program could have prepared him for. Formerly a teacher at Overbrook High School, Peiffer made a career change to become a police officer and was already making an impact on lives around South Jersey, older and younger.
“At the time, I was just kind of trying to do my job and I didn’t even think about it,” said Peiffer. “But once I got back to the station it hit me that I just delivered a baby. It puts a smile on your face and it’s very rewarding to make a difference in the community like that. The parents were probably more nervous than I was honestly.”
Having no kids himself, Peiffer said it was a unique experience to assist and see firsthand a baby coming into the world. According to other officers at the department, the previous police chief had also delivered a baby while on the job, albeit many years ago.
Peiffer and the department, shortly after the birth, brought the family supplies and diapers. Peiffer said he feels a slight connection with the family, which does not live in Berlin Borough, moving forward and hopes to see them in the future.
“I feel like if I run into them I’ll definitely stop and say hi,” said Peiffer. “You could feel the appreciation from mom and I can tell they both appreciate the help.”