SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA — Ask any First Responder and he’ll have at least one nightmare story to recall where he or she arrived at a scene where someone needed urgent medical care and the scene hadn’t been cleared by police. Now, we all know that standard procedure is to have police secure an area before First Responders come in to provide critical, timely medical assistance to those in need. But, in reality, sometimes First Responders arrive first. Sometimes the situations are very hazy in terms of who’s trying to help and who’s trying to hurt. In the middle are brave men and women who go into these situations often unarmed and without support.
Louisiana legislators are looking to change that.
“If something were to happen I’d like for them to be able to protect themselves. It’s as simple as that,” explained Rep. Bagley.
“I’m more concerned with the ones that go into areas where they’re possibly attacked for no good reason. Or they’re trying to get in or out and someone else decides that they don’t want that to happen,” added Bagley.
But the bill comes with a catch. If passed and signed into law, it would require those same First Responders to be qualified to carry through Louisiana’s Council on Peace Officer Standards and Training. This wouldn’t make them sworn officers of the law but ensure that if they become inadvertant combatants in a developing situation, they are qualified to work and communicate with sworn law officers entering the scene.
I’m actually not at all opposed to that. Unfortunately, First Responders are placed in harm’s way WAY too often but if we’re going to discuss where the line of law enforcement ends and emergency first response begins, we’re going to need men and women that can at least hold their own to a certain standard.
If that requirement gets taken out, I still wouldn’t mind this becoming law. It would give Louisiana First Responders the ability to defend themselves if attacked.
It can happen easily. When First Responders arrive, it’s usually because someone called 9-1-1. Imagine if they’re entering into a hostile scene where someone is injured but there’s another person who — for whatever reason — doesn’t want that injured party treated or evacuated from the scene. This places First Responders in a very bad situation. First Responders have been seriously injured and killed in these types of situations.
We’ll watch this bill and see what comes of it. What I don’t want to see is First Responders placed into positions that a police officer ought to be in. It would be far better if they were simply given a basic ability that most any other American would have in a similar situation.