HPD’s tactical medical instruction has resulted in tourniquet usage that saved an HCC officer

Tom Kennedy

HPD’s tactical medical instruction has resulted

in tourniquet usage that saved an HCC officer

Since HPD started what was initially called the Self Aid Buddy Aid (SABA) program it has recorded several successful “save” opportunities, including the April 2015 case involving a Houston Community College officer who was stabbed multiple times while working an extra job at a Walmart.


The tactical medical instruction program has been used on victims, officers, civilians and even suspects. Unquestionably the most notable incident happened when three HPD officers administered emergency medical care to HCC Officer April Pikes.


“Dealing with the threat while trauma is addressed is tactical medicine,” said Rodney Jaime, one of the founders of SABA. Jaime told the Badge & Gun how pleased he is about the awareness and training of HPD officers, especially in the wake of a dramatic tourniquet application by a fellow officer that saved the life of Santa Fe ISD Police Officer John Barnes.


Barnes, a retired HPD senior police officer, was credited with saving the lives of many students when he diverted the attention of the active shooter at Santa Fe High School on May 18. Barnes is recovering from a severe elbow wound. He believes he would have died had not his fellow officer, Gary Forward, had a tourniquet on his belt ready for use.

Few officers appreciate what he hopes has become a routine for HPD officers – carrying a tourniquet at all times in case of a life-threatening emergency – more than Jaime.


“Special recognition should be given to all officers who put themselves in harm’s way,” Jaime said. “Also, the SABA Program would not be possible without those who take care of the tactical side on dynamic scenes for those providing medical care.”


Jaime referred to the Walmart incident involving Officer Pikes, who arrested the stabbing suspect as the other three officers used the medical tactics that helped to save Pikes’ life. She was stabbed 14 times before bystanders were able to subdue the suspect.


While Officers Brittany Cerritos, Nathan Moore and Patrick Morrissey worked as a team to administer to Pikes’ wounds, a fourth officer, Matthew Ham, dealt with the suspect, handcuffing him and taking him into custody.


This is a prime example of the teamwork taught in the department’s SABA program, Jaime said. In fact, Jaime talks about it with the vigor of a Gospel preacher.


The HPD Tactical Training Unit initiated the Self Aid Buddy Aid (SABA) in October 2012. Besides Jaime, other founders of the program are Kent Winebrenner, Rich McCusker, Steve Zakharia and Sgt. Bryan Garrison.


Jaime used the lead tactical medical instructor. He also used Nathan Moore, a military trained medic, in initiating the course at the academy and singled out the following officers for their roles: Chi Yuen, Austin Huckabe, Jeff Chapman, Sgt. James Luplow and David Dedo.  “The training would not have been possible without the unit working as a whole,” he said.


Jaime also pointed out the generous role of Dr. John Holcomb, M.D., and Memorial Hermann Hospital for donating the HPD-issued SABA kits. “Dr. Holcomb is one of the primary founders and contributors to the development of current tactical medicine practices,” he said.


After the life-saving incident, the HPOU awarded the Patrol Officers of the Month award to Cerritos, Moore and Patrick.


Cerritos applied her HPD-issued tourniquet to the injured officer’s arm to stop the bleeding. Moore tightened the tourniquet to completely stop the bleeding. And Morrissey assisted in the care of Pikes by placing a chest seal on her.


Meanwhile, Officer Ham nabbed the suspect. He was Cerritos’ field training officer at the time. He since has been promoted to sergeant and serves at South Gessner.


Recalling the “save” of the HCC officer, Jaime beamed with satisfaction, saying, “Those two saved her life because of the training. Those officers, for a fact, were trained by HPD. The first officer was a brand new officer fresh out of the academy.”


He said officers are each issued two tourniquets and it’s a “general practice” to carry one or try to carry two. “I have a tourniquet holder on my belt and I have another one in my pocket,” he said. “You have to keep them where you can get to them.”


Jaime is now the defensive tactics instructor at the academy, saying, he’s “still able to emphasize the importance of that (tourniquet) with the cadets.”


He said he doesn’t know of tourniquet use on any current HPD officer “but I do know we use them all the time on suspects and citizens.”


On the record, the first time an HPD tourniquet was ever used involved a suspect, who to this day should be thanking the officer involved for being equipped to save his life.