Saturday, January 3, 2004

Police to get training in CPR

Controversial death leads to recertification order

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DOWNTOWN - The city will require all of its 1,050 police officers to receive training on cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, Cincinnati City Manager Valerie Lemmie said Friday.

The new policy comes after the police-involved death of Nathaniel Jones. The 41-year-old Northside man died when his heart stopped after a struggle with police, the Hamilton County coroner has said.

Cincinnati firefighters left the scene of the Nov. 30 incident, leaving Jones without professional medical attention for more than a minute - although police officers did check for a pulse and to see if he was breathing.

Cincinnati police officers are trained in CPR in the police academy, but weren't required to keep their certifications current. Vice Mayor Alicia Reece proposed mandatory recertification when City Council voted to buy Taser stun guns for all officers last month. Three council members voted against the Tasers because of concerns about their health effects - especially if police weren't trained to revive a suspect whose heart had stopped.

"I personally think council should have acted that day on CPR. It would have sent the right message to the citizens," Reece said Friday. "It's unfortunate that it only came out after the Nathaniel Jones case that we weren't requiring police to do it."

Mayor Charlie Luken said the issue should not have come down to Tasers versus CPR. "The only reason for the delay was to see what the Police Department thought about it," he said. "They liked the idea, so we're going to do it."

The cost will be borne by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has given Cincinnati $20.8 million to help train and equip emergency workers.

The Cincinnati Fire Department will provide the training, which will be offered to all other law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County.


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