Dr. Danny Sanders, general vascular trauma surgeon at North Mississippi Medical Center, trained the officers to use trauma packs that were assembled and donated to the unit by the hospital.
The 10 packs, worth about $2,700 total, equip the officers with tools to treat major hemorrhaging and gunshot and knife wounds.
“Through a mutual friend of Officer (Robert) Vail and myself, we met and talked about (the street crimes unit) being a high-risk group that puts them at risk for life-threatening injuries,” Sanders said. “I asked, ‘What do you have in your car if you get shot? Do you just wait for an ambulance?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, pretty much.’”
The unit worked with Sanders to get the trauma kits and training so they are better prepared in violent situations.
“I think this will give us more survivability after being shot,” said Vail, a street crimes officer. “This will give us maybe the time it takes to get to the hospital. You never know if you’ll need it but you want to be as sure as you can be.”
Vail said the unit is usually called to respond to traumatic events so they will be prepared to help civilians if the need arises.
“We’ve rolled up on a scene where a woman has been shot and we didn’t have any training or equipment but we wanted to help,” he said. “This gives us that opportunity if we want it.”
Vail and Police Officer Scott Greenhill were not given paramedic training but Sanders, along with Marine Combat Medic Adam Epting, walked the unit through basic life- and limb-salvaging skills.
“We’re excited that the hospital is working closely with us and sees the need for us to react quicker,” said Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton. “If a shooting happens, we have to call for an ambulance and wait until they get there. These guys are already out patrolling and get there quickly so whether it’s a civilian or another officer, we certainly are excited to have this training to at least stop some bleeding or save a life.”
The kits focus on airways, breathing and circulation, the ABCs of first response care.
The packs include airway establishing tools, a rescue mask and tourniquets, bandages and chemical clotting bandages.