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Officers from the villages of Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant will begin carrying Narcan in their squads later this month.
Mount Pleasant police Chief Tim Zarzecki said that the move was initiated by South Shore Fire Chief Robert Stedman after an incident on Sept. 18 where a train kept an SSFD ambulance from arriving at the scene of an overdose. In that instance, Racine County Sheriff’s deputies were able to respond and administer the drug, saving the 26-year-old man’s life.
“It’s important that we not put lives at risk,” he said. “I’ve heard that officers carrying Narcan is similar to using defibrillators. In those cases, officers have the training to use the machines before rescue arrives, which saves lives.”
He stressed the use of both Narcan and the defib machines would only be used prior to rescue’s arrival. Once paramedics arrive, officers would turn over care to them.
Sturtevant police Chief Sean Marschke told village trustees Tuesday that his officers begin training this week under the guidance of the same doctor who advises the medics with South Shore.
Though his officers haven’t often encountered drug overdose situations, the rise of heroin and opiate use means they probably will at some point.
“Having Narcan on hand will undoubtedly save lives,” he said. “Our officers haven’t come across a situation yet where it would have been needed, but it’s really just a matter of time.”
Caledonia Chief Toby Schey said Narcan will, hopefully, reduce the number of opiate and heroin overdoses. He also compared having the drug on board to the defibrillators and said that is time is a key factor in saving someone who is overdosing from heroin.
“Giving officers another tool to help people is no different than using defibrillators since police are typically the first responders on-scene,” he said. “Our paramedics then can take over once they arrive, which is usually very quick.”
Officer training begins Thursday and will be led by South Shore Fire Department personnel.