Harrison county officers strengthen survival skills

Harrison county officers strengthen survival skills
Elias says the unthinkable can happen at any time when wearing blue. (Photo source: WLOX News)

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Training officers ahead of a potentially catastrophic event is a top priority for the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.

Maj. Louis Elias with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department says he knows the importance of non-emergency training for officer survival.

"I can think back to the death of two Long Beach officers on May 6, 1998. Sargent Steve Morgan and Detective James Northcutt both suffered catastrophic injuries during a shoot out, responding to a domestic dispute," Elias said. "I could only wish that this training could have been in place and the resources there to attempt to stop their bleeding," Elias noted.

That's why he and his training crew stress the importance of knowing how to tighten a tourniquet around their own wounds and getting familiar with a medical chopper. At the Law Enforcement Training Academy in Biloxi, seasoned officers and new recruits learn how to potentially save their own lives 

Rusty Shoultz, chief flight nurse with Flight Care, says getting the chance to train officers ahead of time is one of the best parts of his job.

"The training between sheriff department and flight care is so important, when seconds and minutes matter during major emergencies in the community," said Shoultz.

Elias says he has witnessed first hand how much this type of training matters in an incident involving one of his own officers.

"A tourniquet was involved and he credits the tourniquet as well as the medical care he received with saving his life," Elias added.

Health professionals from the Mississippi Coastal Trauma Region hold tourniquet training for law enforcement agencies thanks to federal grant money. The organization recently trained Ocean Springs officers and is working to help other departments apply for grants to learn the life-saving lessons.

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