Friday, September 17, 2004

Cincinnati cops nearly
done with CPR update

By Jane Prendergast
Enquirer staff writer

Cincinnati Police Officer Cynthia Alexander, right, trains on an infant mannequin with the assistance of training Sgt. Tony Shearer as she and other officers go through CPR training at the Cincinnati Police Academy in Lower Price Hill.
(Gary Landers/The Enquirer)
The boy wasn't breathing, and Cincinnati police Sgt. Diane Reed knew what to do.

She'd been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) just a week or two before, one of the first Cincinnati officers to get a refresher course in how to revive people. All officers learn CPR in the police academy, but weren't required to keep the training current.

That was until the case last year of a man who died after officers subdued him and while they waited for emergency medical help. That prompted the city to order all 1,050 Cincinnati officers to be retrained in CPR every year.

"I realized I knew what to do now," Reed said, recalling the June incident that left 8-year-old Treshawn Jones critically injured. "It was quite a stressful situation, really. I think it's very beneficial training."

She is now one of the Cincinnati officers trained as instructors. Every member of the force should be finished with training by the end of October, said Lt. Howard Rahtz, supervisor of the police academy, where classes take place three times a week.

More than 750 officers have finished the recertification. Department spokesman Lt. Kurt Byrd said another officer used the Heimlich maneuver - also taught as part of the CPR classes, he said - successfully on her own child.

The mandate for annual CPR training came after the November 2003 death of Nathaniel Jones, a 41-year-old man who was obese and intoxicated on PCP when he got into a violent struggle with police in a White Castle parking lot in North Avondale. After Jones was handcuffed, officers noticed he was not breathing. They looked around for fire department paramedics, who had been at the scene but left.

The struggle, which showed officers repeatedly hitting Jones with batons, was recorded on police cruiser videotape. The incident also prompted the city to buy Tasers, weapons that use a jolt of electricity to temporarily immobilize suspects.


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