On the evening of August 11, 2012, officers from the Salem Police Department responded to assist the Benton County Sheriff’s deputies trying to apprehend an armed subject who had run from a stolen car. When located, the suspect opened fire on the officers, injuring two of the officers. One of the officers was severely injured when a bullet struck him in the stomach. Officer Tyler Verhaar was carrying a personal trauma kit similar to those carried by the military in combat. Officer Verhaar, with assistance from other officers, was able to apply a combat gauze treated with a specialized clotting agent to the injured officer which stopped the bleeding. The surgeon who later operated on the injured officer commented the combat dressing very likely saved the officer’s life.
The Salem Police Foundation was formed in 2010 by a group of citizens wanting to support the employees of the Salem Police Department. When the Foundation heard this story, members unanimously felt it was important to provide every officer with a similar trauma kit designed to save the life of an officer or citizen. In February of this year, the Salem Police Foundation held their fundraising event, “Breakfast with the Chief”. At that event, the Salem Police Foundation raised the funds to purchase enough kits for every Salem police officer.
The trauma kits contain the combat gauze, pressure dressing, and tourniquet. The kit is designed to allow an officer to treat an injured officer or citizen. The kit is also designed so the officer can use the contents of the kit with one hand. This allows an officer who is injured to self treat a gunshot wound if immediate medical attention is not available.
Salem Firefighter and SWAT Medic Brian Hollis designed a law enforcement training curriculum on the proper use of the trauma kits. All Salem Police officers have now received training in the use of the trauma kit.
The officers of the Salem Police Department are grateful to the Salem Police Foundation for their support and the commitment to raise the funds to purchase the trauma kits.
When asked about the importance of this community support Chief Jerry Moore’s response was; “Any police agency would benefit from having trauma kits as part of their work gear. Smaller agencies relying on medical help from a long distance would benefit from receiving community support for this project, like we have.”
On Thursday, August, 15th at 1:00 pm, Chief Jerry Moore and members of the Salem Police Foundation will issue the first trauma kits to officers at briefing at the Salem Police Department. This will start promptly at 1300 due to the fact the officers will be going on shift at that time.
To learn more about the Salem Police Foundation go to their website: https://salempolicefoundation.org/