This year nearly 900,000 law enforcement officers in the United States will put their lives on the line to ensure the safety and protection of others. Often it can be a rewarding experience, however every year there are nearly 60,000 assaults on law enforcement officers. More than 20,000 law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Despite the dangers of the job, law enforcement officials are more focused than ever on saving lives. Drawing on the advances in pre-hospital medical treatments, which have brought survivability to an all-time high in armed services, police officers are training to address life threatening bleeding with medical care. Often first on the scene of an emergency, today’s police are equipped with tourniquets, chest seals, and advanced blood clotting agents that can help save the lives of fellow injured officers and civilians.
During National Police Week we asked you to tell us your story about how an officer positively impacted your life. Below are just a few of the many positive stories we have received.
Tell Us Your Story Giveaway Winning Entry by Justin Koller
“Tuesday, April 3rd, 2014 was a warm Spring Day. I was working our Metro Zone, an eclectic mixture of lower income housing and multi-million dollar mansions. At 1316 hours, the day suddenly changed. I was dispatched to a report of shots fired near our Market District. Being near lunch time, I knew the area would be bustling. As I approached the area, I noticed a group of people on the side porch of a house. They were frantically waiving at me. I pulled my car to the rear of the house and obtained the ballistic wound kit from the vehicle. As I approached, I found a male in his late twenties in a seated position leaning against an older man’s legs. The look on the bystanders face was fear. In all my years working this particular zone, I have never seen such distraught, genuine fear in a person’s face. I began an initial trauma assessment on the patient.
During my trauma assessment, I found a medium sized puncture wound on his left neck similar to a medium caliber gunshot wound. I also found a small laceration across the bridge of his nose. A pool of blood had formed under the patient. It was cascading down the steps of the porch like a waterfall. I deployed the Olaes Bandage and removed the interior gauze. Applying direct pressure with the pressure cup, I sealed the entrance wound on his neck. I used the gauze to clear the blood from the patient’s face and stabilize his airway. Given the amount of blood loss, I was sure there was an exit wound.
At this time, the patient was unconscious. I couldn’t tell if he was breathing. As I pulled the bandage tight, I looped it under his right armpit. With my finger still on the pressure cup, I could feel blood restoring to the patient’s brain. As I made the last loop with the bandage, the patient opened his eyes and blinked a few times while looking at me. I could see the same fear stricken stare that adorned the faces of the bystanders. I asked him not to move. He attempted to speak but was unable. The only sound he produced was a gurgle. Frothy blood poured from his mouth. With the gauze still in my hand, I cleared his airway of some blood and continued my search for more wounds.
As I was beginning to cut his blood soaked clothing off, the ambulance arrived. I was in disbelief when he stood on his own and walk down the steps to the awaiting ambulance. He climbed the back stairs and sat down on the stretcher. He spent two weeks in the hospital and was discharged. According to the medical personnel, restoring the blood to his brain saved his life.” – Justin Koller
Tell Us Your Story Giveaway Winning Entry: A Second Chance by Eric Kevitt
“When I was in my mid twenties I was living in Hickory N.C.. This was in ’95, I was doing things that let’s just say just weren’t productive activities. A neighbor and I got into some trouble downtown and the next morning the police were at my door. They asked if I knew anything about what happened (of course about the incident) and I told the officer the truth, unlike my neighbor who got in much more trouble than I did, because its the way I was raised for one, and second, I figured he already knew or he wouldn’t be there to begin with. So to make a long story short I was told to sit down on a railroad tie in front of my house and think of what could actually happen had anyone gotten hurt. How it would impact both their and my lives. I hoped no-one went to the ER or showed up missing, and I wasn’t sure if anyone had.
We were talking serious stuff from attempted murder, possession of narcotics, to all sorts of things I am still to ashamed to even mention, but you probably will get the point in this column. Turns out no one got hurt, and he then went on to tell me I had a problem with drugs and needed help. He could have arrested me and anyone else probably would have but he told me that he thought I was really a good person that had been misguided and just needed some re-direction. But the people we were messing with were serious gang members and I had probably best get a new place to live if nothing else. He then issued me a citation for discharging a firearm inside city limits, pending if I went to rehab. This is when the full ramifications of what we did, really hit home. Needless to say I went into a rehabilitation facility to get help, went to court, paid my fine, and then moved to Arizona for the next six months.
I later returned to hickory N.C, and found the officer that allowed me to turn my life around. I thanked him personally and with sincerity. I let him know that I was currently clean and racing bicycles on the road now for a living, yes like the Tour de’ France only I was not quite at THAT level. I was grateful for the second chance I was given.” – Eric Kevitt The PoormanPrepper
“The same DPS officer that had given me the ticket had pulled me out of the vehicle and used a homeostatic agent on my chest to stop the bleeding.”
“I was speeding down Interstate 10 outside of Baytown, Texas to get to a customer that needed to be seen right away. I was stopped by a Texas Department of Public Safety officer for going 16 miles over the 65 MPH speed limit. Once he gave me the ticket I went on my way cursing the officer under my breath. A few miles down the road I was weaving in and out of traffic to avoid being stuck behind one of the notoriously slow 18 wheelers. Suddenly – BAM! I was knocked off a road by a driver that had not seen me in their blind spot. I fell off of the interstate and onto the shrubbery below and was slashed across the chest by the warped metal of the door/window frame. I awoke on route to the hospital after the same DPS officer that had given me the ticket had pulled me out of the vehicle and used a homeostatic agent on my chest to stop the bleeding. From that moment forward I became an advocate for any and all police departments and was thankful that out paths crossed.” – J. Hernandez
“Switching gears between investigation, protection, enforcement, and being just a helpful person, personified the role of an officer.”
“My dad was a Police Officer in San Diego for almost 30 years including Chula Vista, and SDPD. I went on a ride along with him when I was about 15 or 16. After responding to a 4x fatal crash, a prowler, and pulling over a man who had just pulled picked up a hooker, we were driving along and found a call that really stands out. A man was pushing his van down the street, out of gas, and having a bad night. My dad got out, talked to him, and pushed the van while the man drove his van to a safe stop around the corner, and parked it for the night. Switching gears between investigation, protection, enforcement, and being just a helpful person, personified the role of an officer.”– K. M.
“Get the gear, get trained, stay safe!”
“As a police officer, I still remember why it is that we do traffic law enforcement, to prevent and/or reduce the number of fatalities, injuries and property damage on our highways. I also understand that there are times for education over enforcement, in other words sometimes giving a little education with a warning can do as much as a ticket. I had an occasion to stop a teenage driver who wasn’t wearing her safety belt. I explained to her the importance of wearing a safety belt that I was giving her a warning, but if that didn’t work that next time I saw her not wearing her safety belt it would be a citation.
A week later, I helped work a wreck where a semi driver was upset over having to be behind a slow moving vehicle and decided to pass, in a prohibited passing zone.As he got up to highway speed, he didn’t realize that a passenger car was ahead of him on the highway and had slowed to make a left hand turn onto an intersecting street and was now directly in his path of travel. He struck that car broadside (“T-Bone”), pushing the car 175 feet and down into a ditch. Semi driver was checked out at the scene, but the driver, who was the young driver that I had stopped prior and passenger in the car where taken to the hospital another city away, presumably with serious injuries. I helped work the wreck, but never got a chance to see/check on her condition.
Later that night, I got a phone call from the young lady’s father. He wanted to thank me for stopping his daughter the first time. He told me that no matter what he said, she simply refused to wear her safety belt, but that after I had stopped her she was so afraid of getting a ticket, that she wore her safety belt. And that both she and her passenger were wearing their safety belts when she was struck by that semi. He also wanted to tell me that they were bruised and had some small cuts from the broken glass but that they were treated and released from the hospital and that he knew if I hadn’t told her that she was going to get a ticket, that she wouldn’t have worn her safety belt and that when she was struck by the semi, that she would have been killed.
Their name were added to the state’s “Life Toll” of people who survived a potentially fatal car wreck due to their use of a safety belt. I’m glad I knew how to educate her then. I’ve since done more work on educating myself by taking a trauma medical course (tactical medicine for patrol) to help treat those that don’t heed the advice or are involved in an incident of where they’re seriously injured or assaulted. I, along with another officer gained the support of our chief and have obtained medical equipment for our vehicles and are looking for a grant to get basic equipment for each officer. We not only put on a training class for our department but we were even invited to put on a class for our local EMS/Rescue department to bring them up to speed on the use of hemostatic gaze, pressure bandages and tourniquets. Get the gear, get trained, stay safe!” -P. Kuhlman
“After several rescue breaths and cycles of CPR, the child became responsive.”
“I was dispatched to a collision involved with one of our city owned work trucks and another vehicle. I cleared both vehicles from the roadway and retreated to a parking lot close to our location. As I was processing the collision, a frantic man flagged me down and stated there was an infant not breathing and to call EMS to our location. I saw a female with an infant standing in the middle of traffic frantically screaming for help. Her baby, 10m old, was blue in the face and unresponsive. I took the child from the mother and began CPR on the infant. After several rescue breaths and cycles of CPR, the child became responsive. EMS arrived on scene and took her and her mother to our local hospital for more observations. Later that evening I was contacted by the family and advised that the infant was fine and had a severe fever from teething.” – R. Hernandez