Legislation that would allow police officers trained as first responders to transport a victim of gun violence to the hospital was recently approved by the NJ Assembly.
The bill enables New Jersey law enforcement to help shooting victims get aid faster if emergency medical transport is delayed or unavailable.
The legislation was approved by the Assembly with a vote of 55-17-5 on Aug. 27. The bill was sponsored by Assemblywomen Angela McKnight (D-Hudson) and Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic).
Saving victims of gun violence
Known as “Scoop and Run,” the bill is based on a practice established by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1987, which allows police officers to take shooting victims to the hospital before the arrival of ambulance services.
The legislation authorizes a county or municipal law enforcement officer who has been trained as a first responder to immediately transport a person requiring urgent medical care to the nearest hospital or other appropriate health care facility if an emergency medical vehicle is unavailable or delayed.
Under the bill, a first responder means a law enforcement officer who has been trained to provide emergency medical first response services in a program recognized by the Commissioner of Health. The bill defines “emergency medical transportation” to mean the pre-hospital transportation of an ill or injured patient.
McKnight and Sumter issued a joint statement following the approval of the legislation.
“Police officers are often the first to arrive at the scene,” the Assemblywomen said. “Getting gunshot or stabbing victims to medical care quickly can mean the difference between life and death.”
They continued: “Law enforcement must be able to act to save lives if an emergency medical vehicle has trouble getting to the scene for any reason. This may not happen often; however, when it does, an officer must be able to take action and transport the victim to a hospital. Allowing them to transport residents in need of life-saving medical care will help save more lives.”
The legislation now heads to the Senate for further approval.
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