The Seattle Police Department will provide emergency medical training for officers so they can provide medical assistance to victims of shootings and other accidents.
SPD, which currently has 53 trained EMTs in its ranks, will add 18 more following the training.
Nick King, an officer and EMT trainee who has been with the SPD for four years, said the training has been especially helpful over the summer, which saw several shootings.
“This summer, particularly, there’s been a lot of gunshot wounds, especially downtown where I work. So being able to handle the situation more promptly gives the injured person a much, much greater chance of survival,” King said.
According to King5, police officers generally rely on the fire department for medical assistance. However, depending on the situation, it’s not always safe for paramedics to be on the scene, and other times paramedics can be minutes away.
Police, on the other hand, are only seconds away and can provide immediate care.
“As a police officer, you could be thirty seconds away as opposed to EMT or fire coming from the station could be eight more minutes, plus more traffic,” King said.
Therefore, the SPD has decided to give their officers more expertise to be able to stabilize injured victims.
EMT trainees train three times a week for 10 weeks.
One of these officers is Officer Garth Lindelef, who became an EMT almost a year ago after responding to a shooting involving a 14-year-old, who later died.
“More than anything I wanted to avoid having to ask that question of ‘did I do enough, could I have done more?’” he said.
The Seattle Police Foundation, an organization that supports and raises awareness for the SPD, is also raising money to buy trauma kits packed with essential medical supplies to support the agency with their EMT training.
The organization has so far raised a little over $35,000 for the cause.
“We’re there first, we should be able to handle the situation to the best of our ability,” King said.