POLICE Magazine Supplements

Special Report 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/977262

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Page 13 of 19

14 SPECIAL REPORT: KEEPING SCHOOLS SAFE The foundation of a tactical medical re- sponse to a school shooting begins in the minds of those responding to the horrif- ic event. We must act and be law enforce- ment officers first before we can transi- tion into being medical responders. STOP THE KILLER FIRST I have trained hundreds of officers on the application of tourniquets, hemostatic agents, and airway control techniques. Time and time again it's been observed that once the mindset of the officers transitions to dealing with the trauma- based situation they completely forget about the tactics of stopping the killing. In the scenario-based training I have conducted, we have had the invaluable help of actual children and teens who played the role of the "injured," and I have seen countless times that officers will stop trying to search for and ap- prehend the bad guy and instead im- mediately render aid to the first child who reminds them of a loved one. is is caused by the nurturing instinct of the well-intentioned human behind the badge. But while there is an active mur- derer amongst the children, we must dis- regard the wounded and stop the killing. I do not like using the adjective never but officers responding to school shootings need to remember that they should never trade good medicine for bad tactics. e reverse is also true. Once the ac- tive shooter or suspect has been neutral- ized, either killed or in custody, officers sometimes have difficulty transitioning from engaging the bad guy to rendering aid to his victims. If you have no infor- mation of a second shooter, you need to move toward your next plan of action. grease," meaning attention. Well in this case it is the complete opposite; if you hear someone yelling and screaming, that is a good thing. ey are alive and getting air into their lungs; they can wait. e thing you most want to know is why the unresponsive person is unrespon- sive because you might just have a few seconds to assess them and save their lives before they expire. What type of injuries are you looking for in a multitude of traumatic gunshot victims? To start, take a split second, pause, assess the current situation, and then begin to make decisions. Before you go any further remember that if you lose your composure, more kids will die. As callous as it may sound, tell yourself, "is is NOT my emergency." By doing so you will keep yourself calm, which will allow you to make better assessments. Next, use your command presence and authority—your big boy/girl voice—to direct those who have minor or no inju- ries to exit the facility through the safest means possible. ere will always be variables to deal with in this situation, including whether the suspect is deceased, the suspect has surrendered or is otherwise in custody, and if communication has been made to other responding units over the radio in order to get them to your precise lo- cation. Once the valid points of conten- tion have been addressed, then you must not get caught up in being "frozen" with the suspect. I have personally observed more times than I would like to admit that officers will handcuff a simulated "dead" suspect and sit there and wait for backup to arrive while continuously holding their guns on the dead suspect. What should be considered in this mo- ment is how far away or how long it might be before backup does arrive. You need to be asking yourselves what kind of equip- ment needs to be requested, how many injuries can be estimated, what type of injuries were suffered by the victims, and what type of weapon—handgun or rifle—was used by the killer. ese are all pertinent details that need to be relayed to the additional responders in order to prepare them to assist you and to treat the injured. TRIAGE Treating the wounded begins with tri- age, which means to sort victims accord- ing to medical need. e first officers on scene may have to make the inconceiv- able decision of which victims receive at- tention and which ones don't. Who do you help first and why? I'm going to keep it as simple as possible, take an immediate look at those who are unresponsive. I'm sure you have heard the phrase, "the squeaky wheel gets the ➔ Officers trained in first aid responding to school shootings have to do what they can to help the victims who can be saved. Daniel Greene Tactical Medical RESPONSE

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