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Gainesville Police equipping officers with tool to stop bleeding
Gainesville Police Cpl. Jessica Van shows how tourniquets are used with the help of Sgt. Kevin Holbrook on Thursday at the Gainesville Public Safety Complex. Tourniquets help officers save the lives of victims who suffer from severe cuts and gunshot wounds. - photo by Erin O. Smith

A moment of makeshift medical assistance led Gainesville Police to arm the department’s officers with emergency equipment to help stop bleeding.

The department is in the process of equipping all officers with tourniquets to go on the officer’s duty belts.

The genesis of the project came after a July shooting on Athens Street, where a man suffered a gunshot wound to the leg near his femoral artery.

Though officers have had the equipment in the patrol car, Cpl. Jessica Van said the responding officers didn’t have a tourniquet on them at the time of the call.

“They did a makeshift version and they used duct tape,” Van said. “It saved his life — it stopped the bleeding.”

Implementation began the week of Dec. 12 to supply officers with the medical device, which comes in a rigid case.

The department collaborated with the Gainesville Fire Department on training officers on the device’s application.

After it is applied, the officer writes down the time stamp for fellow first responders.

“That’s when you’re being transported and lets the med unit know how long,” Van said.

The move comes also on the heels of law enforcement shootings around the state, including two officers shot in Lavonia Dec. 12. According to multiple media reports, the Lavonia officers were shot after a traffic stop.

“This is something that — God forbid — one of us were shot that we can put it on ourselves,” Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said.