Take John Barnes’ advice – Don’t forget your tourniquet!

Tom Kennedy

Take John Barnes’ advice – Don’t forget your tourniquet!

THE BADGE & GUN HAS MADE A CONSCIENTIOUS EFFORT TO determine if – as we believe – officers in the Houston Police Department are the best trained and best educated amongst big-city departments in America.

We determined that two out of every three officers have a college degree and that percentage will continue to grow with each new cadet class. Figures from the Los Angeles Police Department cause us to conclude that LAPD’s education standards are not nearly as high as those of HPD, nor do its officers go through as much in-service training hours on an annual basis. Despite filings of Freedom of Information requests with both the Chicago and New York police departments at least three months ago, neither agency has been forthcoming about what we consider to be basic information. HPD had the Department’s college degree numbers available shortly after they were requested.

The Badge & Gun reports these conditions to you to once again emphasize the belief that Houston police officers are probably the best trained in our nation. One particular case in point – documented in stories in this edition – refers back to about four years ago when medical trauma training was stepped up at the academy. Officer Rodney Jaime led the effort, which not only included advanced first aid training at the scene of life-threatening shootouts but stressed the use of tourniquets.

The word and the term TOURNIQUET is prominent in this issue.

It is well documented that administration of a tourniquet to the right arm of Santa Fe Independent School District Officer John Barnes undoubtedly saved Barnes’ life. Barnes is a retired HPD officer who indeed had a tourniquet on his belt as highly recommended for every police officer on the streets. Officers are taught to use a tourniquet on themselves. Barnes says his elbow wound was so serious he was unable to apply it. But his fellow officer, Gary Forward, a retired officer from upstate New York, had a tourniquet and – while under the threat of the shotgun blasts of the Santa Fe High School active shooter – tied the device to Barnes’ upper right arm to effectively keep him from bleeding out.

Both Barnes and Forward are living examples of why no officer should forget his/her department-issued tourniquet. Sure, you might take them for granted and leave them in the patrol car or in the trunk. But please let this be a reminder not to leave your shop without it. Barnes believes he would have bled out in a matter of minutes if his fellow officer hadn’t forgotten his tourniquet.