All uniformed officers at the Springfield Police Department are now carrying Narcan, an emergency medication used to rapidly reverse opioid overdoses, according to a news release.
Prior to this, Narcan was administered by EMTs, emergency room staff and firefighters, as well as private citizens who carried their own.
As this was implemented, officers were also provided with quicker access to tourniquets. Previously, tourniquets were solely stored in patrol cars; now each officer carries them on their duty belt. Tourniquets are devices used to apply pressure in order to stop bleeding during an emergency.
“Preventable blood loss is one of the most common causes of death and more than 30 citizens died in Springfield from opioid overdoses in 2020. These tools are, quite literally, lifesavers,” Police Chief Paul Williams said in the release. “And while it’s unfortunate that we need them, we are glad to have the added options to better serve our community.”
Supplemental training is also provided to all officers so they can most effectively utilize these tools, the release said.
During the academy, all recruits receive 40 hours of first responder-level first aid training, which also includes “Stop the Bleed” training for tourniquet usage. This training is taught by Springfield Police Special Response Team medics.
Current officers also received training as part of the SPD’s annual in-service curriculum in 2020. They received a total of four hours in tourniquet application, tactical medical procedures and Narcan training taught by Cox and military medics through CoxHealth in conjunction with the MO Hope Project. Officers will receive a Narcan refresher course every two years when they recertify for CPR.
The tourniquets were provided by Cox, and the Springfield Police Foundation awarded the SPD a grant to provide each officer with a tourniquet holder, the release said. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department provides the Narcan.