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Arkansas police medical training saving lives

More than 15 Arkansans are alive right now because of a growing specialized training course for central Arkansas police officers.
Police practicing medical training

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) -- More than 15 Arkansans are alive right now because of a growing specialized training course for central Arkansas police officers.

The training is a part of a program that teaches officers tactical medical techniques to treat fellow officers and victims before EMS arrives. It's been in Arkansas for three years, but has already saved more than seven lives of police officers in Texas, and almost 70 in Arizona.

"S.W.A.T. team has obtained this training for years," said training instructor and North Little Rock police officer Robert Cupps.

"Your heart rate goes up, you can feel that same kind of stress," added Officer Benjamin Pace who took part in Wednesday's training.

Officers learn how to tactically neutralize a target, while applying pressure and a tunicate to an injured officer or person.

"There are people who have died because they have bled out from injuries that might have otherwise been survivable," added MEMS Director Jon Swanson. "If you're that law enforcement officer first on scene, then you need to be ready to deal with the situation as best you can."

The exercises lasted around three hours and included live rounds and dragging dummies.

"Across the nation we're seeing lots of saves of not only police officers but civilians. Texas has had seven police officers saved in a 14, 15 month time period," added Hot Springs Police Chief David Flory.

Hot Springs has seen nice saves since it brought on the program 2 years ago. Same with North Little Rock where three people have survived traumatic injuries.

The most recent one came on Sunday when Austin resident Mike Lashbrook severed a major artery in his leg from misfiring his gun. Officers Chris Brown and Matthew Peach, however, were quickly on scene and applied a tunicate to stop the bleeding while an ambulance came.

"[Police officers] managed to put the strap on me real quickly," he said "Later on, the medic in the ambulance said that probably saved my life."

MEMS estimates that it has trained 800 officers in 3 years, preparing them for whatever may happen when the seconds begin to matter.

"It is the most valuable information we can have," Cupps said.

"It gives you that little bit of confidence that if I can do it out here I think I can do it when it counts," added Pace.

Wednesday's drill was meant to simulate an active shooter environment after last week's movie theater shooting in Louisiana.

MEMS says the Conway Police Department will be taught next.

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