Mo. tactical paramedic program policies approved

The revisions allow tactical paramedics to carry district-issued firearms when responding with the SWAT team

By Sue Sterling
The Daily Star-Journal

WARRENSBURG, Mo. — The Johnson County Ambulance District board approved policies and procedures for the Tactical Paramedic Program.

The rules govern district paramedics participating on the Johnson County Special Weapons and Tactics team.

The board authorized Chief Shane Lockard to sign a memorandum of understanding Thursday with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Warrensburg Police Department. The memo sets terms of participation.

The board approved a revised policy prohibiting unauthorized possession of dangerous weapons on district property. The revisions allow tactical paramedics to carry district-issued firearms when responding with the SWAT team, but prohibits carrying a firearm on duty when not activated.

In October, the board authorized Lockard to develop a program to allow medical help to reach victims sooner during a SWAT operation. Lockard said ambulance personnel worked with law enforcers to develop the program after several cases involving people shooting at officers.

SWAT team paramedics will undergo the same training as law enforcers, participate in planning operations and wear the same gear. Paramedics will not “go in the door with the team,” Lockard said, and will fire their guns only in self-defense or to protect another team member.

Sheriff Scott Munsterman and Warrensburg Police Chief Rich Lockhart support the program.

“In an active-shooter situation, it is beneficial to have (the paramedics) armed. They are already in a situation with us, but they’re unarmed right now,” Munsterman told the board in October.

Lockard said four paramedics will participate in the voluntary program and he hopes for five.

The district will buy and issue guns to the paramedics, who will have concealed-carry permits and qualify in firearms and other training. When not is use, the guns will remain in lock boxes.

Off-duty paramedics may not carry a district-issued firearm.

SWAT incidents in which tactical paramedics may be used include executing high-risk search warrants; armed and barricaded subjects; hostage situations; active shooter and/or sniper situations; dangerous warrant service; armed felony suspect arrests; other inherently dangerous incidents; and cooperation with other police and federal agencies.

Copyright 2017 The Daily Star-Journal

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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