Well, not quite, but the West Hartford Police Department made certain that participants in the Connecticut SWAT Challenge understood how important it is for a police officer to be able to preform casualty care.

Throughout the 3-day event, WHPD continually introduced rescue, casualty evacuation and treatment challenges into the training scenarios. This forced Tactical-LEOs, a colloquialism used to describe a law enforcement officer trained in the arts of SWAT, to deal with situations normally handled by an EMT.

The importance of police provided medical care isn’t unique. Just as the Columbine High School shooting helped to shift the methods of tactical response, so too have the mass shootings of Virginia Tech and Aurora, Colorado invigorated the need for officer first-aid.

Officer Brian Wallace, a former corpsman now tactical medic, pointed out one of the reasons for CT Challenge’s emphasis on medical training. “Unlike the military, unarmed medics may not be able to enter a hostile situation. Some cities or states have them waiting until the scene’s secure…it really depends on what the law says.” This means the lives of American citizens may depend on an officer’s ability to apply a tourniquet or position a victim’s airway while other members subdue the assailant(s).