LAWRENCE, Ind. — In the immediate aftermath of a Lawrence police officer being shot Tuesday night, another officer stepped in with a tourniquet.
The injured officer, who has not been named as of Wednesday night, was shot in the lower leg when a suspect began shooting at police during a SWAT situation.
Lawrence Police Chief Gary Woodruff said another officer quickly got to the fallen officer and put the tourniquet up the leg, between the injury and the heart.
”The emergency room doctor that treated our officer said that our officer who applied the tourniquet did it perfectly,” Woodruff said. “It was tight enough, but not too tight.”
The tourniquet is something many officers carry right on their vests nowadays. It’s a part of a trauma kit that every Lawrence Police officer has in their car. Inside is the tourniquet, a pair of sterile gloves, shears, an airway tool and a large bandage.
”Really anything you need in one little kit like this to at least sustain life in the short term until someone can get to a trauma center,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff said the trauma kits are used often with the tourniquet being the most popular item.
”These have had an immeasurable impact, not just with law enforcement officers, but using them on trauma victims, from vehicle accidents, to gunshot wounds, to stabbing victims, on dogs,” Woodruff said. “But you don’t really imagine you’ll be using it on your fellow officers.”
That’s exactly what happened, though, outside of a home in the 9400 block of Burwood Circle in Lawrence Tuesday night. Police said dozens of shots were exchanged after a suspect fired on officers. The Lawrence officer was injured and a suspect was killed.
”It’s not lost on us, also, that there is a loss of life here,” Woodruff said. “That’s not lost on us, and that shouldn’t be forgotten, that’s a tragedy all the way around.”
With this still a “hot scene,” two IMPD officers stepped in.
”Actually loaded our officer into their vehicle and transported the officer to Eskenazi for further treatment,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff said this is something officers are trained to do. When a scene is still considered active, or a “hot zone” as Woodruff called it, ambulances would not be allowed to get close. This leaves officers to handle transporting injured officers to urgent care.
”We’re not going to have that officer just sitting there, laying there, without getting treatment,” Woodruff said.
Dr. Bryan Carr is a trauma and acute care surgeon at Eskenazi Hospital. He said seconds matter in a situation like this.
”The biggest cause of death after any traumatic event, whether it be a car crash or a gunshot wound, is going to be bleeding,” Carr said. “And the faster you can stop the bleeding, the more likely it is you are going to be successful in saving that life.”
Woodruff said the injured officer was discharged from Eskenazi around midnight Tuesday, just a few hours after he was shot. He credited this, in part, to the quick work of all officers involved.
Woodruff has not had a chance to thank the two IMPD officers who drove his injured man to the hospital, but had this message.
”The message is that we’re all in it together and, you know, that we’re all there for each other when needed and that’s what it’s all about,” Woodruff said.
The trauma kits have been distributed to police officers across the region by the Central Indiana Police Foundation. Executive Director Lisa Rollings talked about the importance of these tools being in officers’ hands.
“More and more we are having more shootings, more crime and we have people that are losing blood and about to lose their lives,” Rollings said. “We have to have these kits, these tools in the hands of our officers so they can make a difference and save the lives that need to be saved.”
Rollings said they’re always looking for donations to keep officers across central Indiana and other parts of the state equipped with the tools they need. If you would like to help out, you can find out how on the CIPF website.