Lives likely will be saved by the tools and training that Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department officers received Thursday.
That is the standard goal of training sessions that police officers must regularly take on topics that include first-response aid to victims of accidents, violence, heart attacks and drug overdoses.
In the latter two categories, however, Tazewell’s sheriff’s deputies have not been fully equipped for the job. That began changing Thursday.
For the first time, they will soon be issued supplies of naloxone, also known as Narcan, an anti-opiate that quickly counters often fatal narcotic overdoses, said Chief Deputy Jeff Lower.
The remedy’s cost of $75 per issued packet will be paid for by court fines and revenues generated from DUI and drug case convictions, Lower said. That will enable the county department to join the Pekin Police Department, which began equipping its officers with Narcan last year, as a certified naloxone dispenser.
The department also received three AEDs, or automated electronic defibrillators, donated by Advanced Medical Transport ambulance service, with a promise of three more next year, said AMT spokesman Josh Bradshaw.
“We need 14 in total” to equip every county squad car with the device that can revive heart attack victims, Lower said.
The county, he said, will foot the cost of $1,250 for each of the remaining eight mobile AEDs, while a grant the department received will pay for six more to be placed in county buildings.
“We want to have the tools for our deputies to respond” at the scene when they encounter potentially fatal drug overdoses and heart attacks, Lower said.
The new emergency tools were unveiled at an annual officer training session conducted by the Central Illinois Police Training Center (CIPTC), based at Illinois Central College, at the county Justice Center.
For the first time, the sheriff’s department opened its five total training sessions for its officers to those from other departments in the county.
“It makes sense to offer smaller departments the opportunity” to meet their state-mandated training requirements with county officers, Lower said. “It makes for a faster and better working relationship between the (police) agencies” in the times an emergency response brings them together. “We’re all on the same page,” he said.
In all, 100 county deputies, corrections and probation officers were joined by 14 from other departments in the sessions that ended Thursday.
They were directed by Josh Jeffries, a lead instructor of CIPTC’s Mobile Training Unit that serves Tazewell, Peoria and Woodford counties.
Jeffries, also a Woodford County sheriff’s deputy and a Village of Morton firefighter, took the officers through a range of subjects – emergency medical care for shooting victims and control tactics during arrests among them – in addition to training on naloxone and AEDs.
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