There is a paradigm shift happening in the public's expectations of how law enforcement handles medical emergencies. The days are over where officers stood around calling for medical aid on their radios while a victim or even suspect bled to death. The public expects officers to render aid and attempt to save lives.
Law enforcement upper management is also very concerned about how officers can best care for themselves and fellow officers if they are shot while on duty. The command staffs of law enforcement agencies that have officers working in remote areas are especially concerned about providing officers with expanded medical training because the response time for EMS may be much longer in the areas where these agencies work than it is in urban areas. As we all know, any delay in medical care during a life-threating situation can have catastrophic results.
Beyond First Aid
Until recently the medical training officers received in most law enforcement academies rarely went beyond basic first aid and the medical kits placed in patrol cars did not contain the necessary equipment to deal with wounds caused by penetrating trauma.
Many were also not eager to render even the limited first aid they had been taught. These officers had the mindset that attempting to provide any medical care would get them in trouble. Furthermore, many officers were told by their supervisors not to get involved in medical care for fear of being sued, fired, and/or put in jail.
Many agencies now are providing training to officers on how to use trauma kits to save the lives of victims, suspects, fellow officers, and even themselves. And they are expected to render such medical response under difficult and dangerous conditions.
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