Bemidji Police Department Awarded New Defibrillators Thanks to Grant
Recently, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust awarded an $18.8 million grant to the University of Minnesota Medical School. Thanks to this grant, several law enforcement officers and first responders across the state will be given automated external defibrillators (AEDs), with the Bemidji Police Department being one such recipient.
The department received over 30 defibrillators as a result of this collaboration, meaning all Bemidji Police Department vehicles have been outfitted with defibrillators and are available for use at any time.
“We rolled them out the first part of January after a short training period with our officers,” said Bemidji Police Department Captain David LaZella. “We have used them a couple of times now in the field, and we hope that they provide a much higher level of service to our community.”
These devices have the ability to wirelessly communicate with medical professionals as well as police officials so that their use can be monitored and used effectively.
“When an officer in the field deploys that defibrillator, it sends an email, real-time, that it’s been deployed, and then when they activate it or if they utilize it, deliver a shock, or start CPR, any of those things, we get real-time updates through email involving that,” explained LaZella.
Beyond the communication features the devices use, the defibrillators are able to treat both adults and children, giving young individuals a dampened shock. Hopefully, these new devices will help give cardiac arrest victims a better chance at survival and assist officers responding to these emergency situations.
“It’s great for our community, it’s great for our officers that are out there, on the front lines and trying to provide this service, trying to be of, very much, help in a sudden cardiac arrest, or any time that they would have to deploy this,” said LaZella. “It just gives them a higher level of care and service.”
The Bemidji Police Department also stated they would like to donate their previous defibrillators to the city so that they can be used effectively.