Expert: Most Officers Not Trained As EMTs; Best To Call Help After Shooting

Thursday, September 22nd 2016, 8:55 pm
By: News On 6

Terence Crutcher's family and some citizens have asked why it took police two minutes to give aid to Terence Crutcher after he was shot.

One expert said it may look heartless when there's a delay, but said that's not the case.

He said there's a protocol officers must follow after a shooting, plus, he said most officers aren't trained in medical care, so the best thing they can do is call an ambulance.

Special Coverage: Terence Crutcher Police Shooting

Don Whitson is an expert who taught extensively for the National Tactical Officers Association, the largest police training organization in the world. He said the 10th circuit court has ruled repeatedly officers are to call for help because the court recognizes most officers don't have medical training.

He said it's proper to see the officers retreat immediately after the shooting, to remove the officer, to secure the scene so it is not compromised, then render aid, which can take a couple of minutes.

"That's a pretty common protocol,” Whitson said. “You secure the scene then you render aid. It's a chaotic situation going on and you have other responsibilities, safety to the public, then, render aid as soon as you can."

Because the officer who fired the shot is an EMT, people ask why she didn't give aid, but Whitson said that would be improper because she was just involved in a high-stress, high-adrenalin situation.

"She performs some type of advanced medical care and it's criticized later, she has added liability for taking action she wasn't fit to do," he said.

Officer Betty Shelby's attorney said she wanted to give aid after the shooting, but other officers wouldn't let her because TPD policy says the officer must be immediately taken to detective division to maintain the chain of evidence and turn over their gun to be sent to the lab.

TPD has 696 officers, corporals and sergeants - 26 of them are EMTs.