To serve, protect and save lives

By Chuck Wright | Feb 03, 2017

We are over one month into the New Year. What will the rest of 2017 bring? Hopefully, a better public image for our women and men law enforcement officers. May the New Year bring back the salute by aåddressing police officers in Mill Creek as “our city’s finest” or our “Officer’s Friendly.”

With news going around the world faster than a millisecond, you probably already know the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be compiling facts on how often law enforcement officers use force and how often civilians die during encounters with police or while in police custody.

If we are going to have better public policies this kind of research is something all cities, counties and states governments need. Yet, this is only the shadowy side of the picture. What about at the same time DOJ also gathers evidence on how often law enforcement officers save lives and how often civilians are kept alive because of their “encounters with police or while in police custody”?

My 30 years working with police officers while in the role of a state probation and parole officer, then an added 10 plus years as a volunteer on the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Cold Case team, along with these years I have had 28 years working with this 1st responder group as a mental health professional.  During these decades I have developed a lot of knowledge around the law enforcement communities.

What I know about these professionals’ selfless actions, and as millions of victims and their love ones also know, police officers are foremost life savers. Police are true 1st responders across our nation. They are most often the first public servants to arrive on scene and they are the ones who immediately roll into action and start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or use an automated external defibrillator (AED) on cardiac patients who were straddling an electrocardiogram (EKG) flat line between life and death.

AED is a small portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient. Under the control of a trained person this lifesaving apparatus is able to allow the heart to reestablish its effective rhythm.

Along with CPR and AED usage police are the ones who are first to begin other first-aid techniques such as direct pressure to a wound or the Heimlich Maneuver on an individual who is choking to death. Then these officers are extremely helpful to those, physically and or mentally, traumatized people by taking their time to really listen and talk to these victims.

Where are the 50 states statistics, which show these aspects of a police officer’s actions? Where is the DOJ studies about suicide prevention; that is a police officer talking a person out of killing themselves, and then getting the person into inpatient treatment?

Where is the hard data which verifies the number of times the keepers of the peace used their defusing skills to prevent a volatile situation from escalating? Why is it so hard to find this pro-police officer’s information?

Police officers around the country, which includes “our city’s finest”, are now trained and are using Naloxone, a prescription medication to save a citizen who has OD’ed on one or more of those opioid painkillers.  Where are the statistics, which support the number of civilian’s lives, which were saved because a police officer, or a deputy, or a state trooper identified a person who had overdosed on a painkilling opiate, such as oxycodone, heroin or morphine and injected the individual with Naloxone in order to reverse the life-threatening effects of the narcotic?

The preponderance of police officers, deputies and other law enforcement officers are friendly, life savers and this impression of our cities finest needs to once again become our everyday perception of these brave women and men.

The DOJ must collect data not only about negative things police officers do, but also what they do and have done to prevent deaths. We as a society must have a global view regarding our city’s finest actions and not just a negative tunnel view of these men and women who have taken an oath to protect and serve.

Darn right, we thank you state troopers, deputies and police officers for caring enough to serve, protect, but above all for saving lives!

Comments (1)
Posted by: A. Brannan | Feb 11, 2017 21:19

I create statistics from data sets as a large part of my job, and simply put, you cannot measure how often a person may have died without police intervention. There is no way to quantify what would have happened had an officer not been on the scene to talk to a suicidal person, or perform a heimlich, or what the outcome might have been if the officer had not been there to administer Narcan. This invaluable service for others is impossible to definitively and objectively count. But what you can measure is how often people are alive, and healthy after coming in contact with one of our fine officers. I think we can all agree we are glad that our offices and EMS personnel are here keeping us all safe; and that we are all better off because they chose to become law enforcement officers. This data collection is necessary, Everyone gets audited. It is never pleasant.

My two cents, I think contemporarily everyone is feeling misjudged and mischaracterized, and it is difficult to see out of this tunnel. I'm not singling out anyone, I mean everyone. It's part of the problem. And, Ironically something that ties us all together. This feeling of misunderstanding is not trivial, just know that most people, even most people that are pushing for police accountability, are with law enforcement, and respect and appreciate the men and women who choose to protect and serve. I hope the Men and women who serve our community know this and are confident that the DOJ report will only show what we all know to be true. That we have some really great law enforcement officers and EMS people in our community and in the rest of the country.

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