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A look at area officer’s medical equipment

CHAMBERS — LaGrange police officers will soon be upgrading their in-the-field medical equipment to include personal tactical medical kits. Since police in Chambers County are confident in their equipment and personnel, however, similar upgrades will not be reaching the Greater Valley Area.

Officers from the Valley and Lanett police departments explained that while they think the kits are a great idea for a bigger city like LaGrange, there is not a need for them in the already well-equipped and heartily-encumbered local departments.

“Our officers are already carrying 35 to 45 pounds of gear [on them],” Lanett Patrol Commander Richard Casner said. “To put an extensive first-aid kit so that they could carry it…its bulk that we can’t justify carrying on them.”

The LaGrange kits, which they will wear under their uniforms for quick access in the event of an emergency, contain a tourniquet, pressure bandages, a chest seal and QuikClot — a homeostatic agent that stops extreme cases of bleeding.

According to a press release from their department, the change is being made after the life of an accidental shooting victim was saved by QuikClot earlier in August.

“Now that the officers will have the kits on their person it will speed up the process of rendering aid to those in need and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome,” said LaGrange Police Officer Wade Sheppard.

Officers in Chambers County carry similar equipment, just not always on their person.

“All of our officers have a little package [of QuikClot] that is vacuum sealed and small enough that we can stick it in our vests,” Casner said. “We have more     [available] but hopefully we never have to use the one.”

Valley police officers don’t actually carry any medical equipment on their person, relying on extensive kits that stay in their patrol vehicles.

“On their body they don’t carry any type of medical equipment,” Major Mike Reynolds said. “Each of the patrol and unmarked cars are equipped with what we call jump bags or go bags that contain various things like QuikClot, compression bandages, tourniquets, things like that.”

Casner reiterated that local officers don’t have a need for the gear upgrades because of the area’s accessibility to emergency medical services.

“Our EMS and fire department are very well-trained and respond very quickly to situations where we would need their help,” he said.

While the departments all have different levels of medical equipment, they all share the same desire to never have to use them.

“Luckily I haven’t had to see it work,” Casner said. “I know that with my guys, we train them up and they are very up-to-date on what they need to do and how to handle things like that.”