Law Enforcement – Standard Operating Procedures Under Fire

Under normal circumstances we would never dream of commenting or writing about law enforcement procedures however we can’t be silent any longer. We feel that we must weigh in on a subject that needs to be talked about seriously if change is going to happen. We want our readers to understand that we respect our law enforcement colleagues from LAPD, LASD and of course VCSD. That will never change!

As medically trained first responders, our staff come from many different departments such as Los Angeles County Fire, LAFD and even Orange County Fire Authority so we know a thing or two about what happens in the field. We would like to address those things but first we need to talk about gunshot wounds (GSW).

What is the definition of a GSW?

 

Penetration of the body by a bullet, commonly marked by a small entrance wound and a larger exit wound. The wound is usually accompanied by damage to blood vessels, bones, and other tissues. There is high risk of infection caused by exposure of the wound to the external environment and debris carried inside the body by the bullet. Additional complications depend on the part of the body wounded.

We are seeing more and more instances of police initiated shootings resulting in GSW’s in suspects. We will not discuss why they shoot suspects as that is an issue for them to address. Many of these victims die from the GSW’s simply because they have “bled out”. That means that the victim was not given rapid medical aid to address blood loss at the scene of the incident. This blog will also cover those who may be victims of violent gun crimes as well.

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While any loss of life is tragic, lives could be saved if law enforcement officers had additional training as EMT’s and specialized trauma kits for GSW’s. Most are not EMT’s and many do not have lifesaving equipment for the GSW victim. Why? Many reasons are no budget or our favorite is, “Let them F**king bleed!” Really?

We have watched countless videos of shootings among law enforcement encounters and the common, most disturbing trend is that once the suspect has been neutralized the officers immediately check the suspect for weapons by rifling through their pockets and then patting them down. Once completed, we have seen many instances where the officers do nothing but stand off to the side and radio EMS units to respond to the scene. In a few instances, we have seen officers attempt to treat the suspect or even the innocent victim but were not successful due to lack of training or equipment.

Law enforcement agencies should take a page out of the military training on GSW’s and utilize that training to save lives. Does it really matter whether they are dealing with two time felons or an innocent victim? No! The treatment is the same for both. If lives are to be saved, the game needs to change as far as SOP’s and protocols are concerned on the national level.

We would suggest that law enforcement agencies get as many of their officers trained in dealing with GSW’s and then equipping them with the right tools to deal with that situation. There are new products coming into the market that are made to treat GSW’s in the field and are based on military trials/experiences. These new items are extremely effective and can buy the victim time to get to definitive care in the emergency room.

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Those officers should then be put through sensitivity training that will allow them to render medical aid without bias! How many times have we seen or heard an attitude that pretty much condemns the suspect no matter what the outcome may be. Again, this would be an internal matter for law enforcement officers.

Law enforcement officers can no longer call and request EMS units hoping they will arrive fast enough to render aid. We know for a fact that in many instances, EMS units are delayed by traffic, weather conditions or simply being told to hold back by officers. A person suffering a GSW can bleed out within minutes so time is of the essence.

This is not an easy subject and one that sparks much heated debate but it needs to be addressed TODAY, not tomorrow!

 

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