INDIANAPOLIS – When a teenage girl caught a bullet meant for a gang member on the downtown canal on St. Patrick’s Day 2012, it was a fast thinking officer with a tourniquet who saved her life.
Now, an east side church wants to equip every Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer with an emergency trauma kit to provide crucial first aid until a trained paramedic arrives.
“We as a society have a responsibility to appreciate that and thank them,” said Dr. Christopher Holland of The Father’s House, “I believe that goes beyond just money.”
Holland said through donations from his church and corporate sponsors, he has raised $10,000, enough to buy the first 100 kits for officers patrolling the city’s east and southeast sides.
Deputy Public Safety Director Val Washington advanced to the microphone at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 86 meeting hall Monday.
“We would like to announce today that the Department of Public Safety is going to contribute $35,000 toward this cause to Father’s House so that we can continue on. We hope that that donation provides for the first 200 kits that go out and that will provide some seed money for you to continue on,” she said.
There was a gasp in the room with the realization that at $100 apiece, nearly one-third of IMPD’s 1500+ men and women will be equipped with kits that will save lives in emergencies.
Like when Officer Jason Fishburn was shot chasing a wanted man through an east side neighborhood in the summer of 2008.
“Over five years ago, if it wasn’t for the fact that a patrolman had this particular equipment in his car, he had the tools, he had the knowledge of how to use those tools, he got Jason prepped and because of the tools and the time that was saved in getting this bag on him and sustained his vitals and with the prayers of the community, he is alive today,” said Jason’s father, retired IMPD Sgt. Dennis Fishburn.
The wounded former officer could not attend the announcement. He is home with his first child, a boy born just three weeks ago.
“Great things do come by lives being saved,” said Fishburn. “This little boy is going to live forward and carry his name forward.”
The kits contain tourniquets, bandages, airway gear and other emergency supplies. All officers have been trained to use the supplies until paramedics arrive.
“If that officer can be thrown this kit, apply a tourniquet to a wound or you personally could apply that or an officer could apply that to you as a common citizen, how important is that to us as a community?” asked Holland. “How important is it to us to make sure they have these kits available in every car?”
Holland called on the business community to donate funds for the kits as, “it is the businessman that they protect every day.”
Washington said a department-wide financial analysis undertaken by Public Safety Director Troy Riggs has resulted in savings to support projects like the emergency trauma kits.
“We have kind of taken it upon ourselves to look at every single purchase that we’re making in all areas of the budget and it’s nice when we’re able to find underspending to put toward projects like this.”
The Fraternal Order of Police is accepting tax-deductible donations for the kits at FOP86.org.