Project Triage is an initiative which came out of our Annual General Meeting and Conference which was held in Bermuda in 2013 after listening to a presentation made by former Chief Christopher Howell of the United States Virgin Police Department.
The story given by Chief Howell inspired members to endorse a resolution to provide trauma training and individual trauma kits to every front line officer in the Caribbean. The total police numbers across ACCP member countries is over 40,000 officers.
He graphically described, an incident where he and a fellow officer, on anti-robbery patrol, were ambushed by offenders armed with AK47 high velocity assault rifles. He was shot several times, as was his colleague. Both sustained serious injuries.
Chief Howell, described his colleague as losing an eye, having been shot in the face, whilst he described his arm as “exploding” as a round all but severed his forearm. Fortunately, had been recently provided with a basic trauma kit and he had benefitted from a 30 minute training on how to provide immediate lifesaving action to stop the bleeding, this he used to save his life. The provision of a simple $43 trauma kit prevented him from “bleeding-out” and saved his life.
This initiative will not only safeguard our officers, but also enable those same officers, often the first on the scene of a shooting to provide immediate first aid, stop the bleeding and save lives, often when minutes mean the difference between life and death.
It might be said that a single death in any one of our jurisdictions may cost us many times more as cruise ships and tourists, reacting to the latest tragedy, choose alternative or “safer” destinations. Collectively, we may just be able to stop the escalating homicide rates in the Caribbean and certainly we will ensure police officers are better protected and better able to protect those we serve.
It is our hope that this will be an ongoing initiative which will see to all front line officers in region being equipped and trained in the use of trauma kits. We therefore, welcome any support from the regional and international community.
Commissioner David Baines, OBE
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