Emergency gunshot trauma kits can save lives

Donors raised $150K to make kits possible

INDIANAPOLIS - In a boost  for the health and morale of several Indianapolis law enforcement agencies, more than 1,700 police officers will now go on patrol with life-saving gunshot trauma kits.

Thanks to community support, more than 1,000 trauma kits were assembled and shipped out Tuesday. 

Volunteers spent the morning stuffing small duffel bags with the vital life-saving components. Each Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer will have his or her own kit. So will officers from Cumberland, Indianapolis International Airport and 35 officers from the Beech Grove Police Department.

"Society isn't what it used to be and we need to do as much as we can to protect these guys," Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley said.

The IMPD SWAT team has doctors assigned to the unit to provide life-saving first aid in the event of a shooting or other injury. Officers on the beat don't have the luxury of a medical entourage during a tour of duty.

"This is absolutely the best thing our community can do for us, is to provide each officer with the tools that can save their life or that of a loved one," IMPD detective Wayne Shelton said.

Over the past decade, four IMPD officers and a sheriff's deputy have died in the line of duty, underscoring the inherent risks of the job.

The idea of putting a gunshot trauma kit into each police car is catching on across the nation.

"We've heard from police departments in Alaska. We've heard from police departments from California, Oklahoma, Texas and Minnesota," Rev. Christopher Holland with The Father’s House said.

From individual donors to the Colts and Anthem Blue Cross -- who donated $75,000 -- the community raised $150,000 to make this life-saving gift possible.

"That's what we try to remind our officers of all the time. They have all this support and the community lifts them up and loves them,” Lt. Rick Snyder, vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said.

The fundraising will continue with the goal of pushing beyond Indianapolis to put a trauma kit in every police car in central Indiana.

The kits come with a variety of medical supplies including bandages, sutures and compression wraps that can stop bleeding. Each kit costs $100.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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