April 30, 2024

Muskogee Police unveils Medical Support Unit

Muskogee Police unveils Medical Support Unit

Officers within unit provide care until medical help arrives.

By Ronn Rowland rrowland@muskogeephoenix.com

Muskogee Police Officer Taylor Pevehouse said she, at times, felt helpless at the scene of an incident.  Pevehouse, along with Officers Sam Antar and Garrett Dunlap, make up the Medical Support Unit, a division of the department that provides trauma care until emergency medical responders arrive.  The unit is the first of its kind in Oklahoma.

A five-year veteran of the Muskogee Police Department, Pevehouse, an EMT basic, said the program involves officers wanting to help people.  “We want to help them in any way possible,” Pevehouse said. “Whether it’s arrest the bad guy to help keep the streets safe or have to go do CPR (cardio- pulmonary resuscitation) on Grandma because she’s had a heart attack. There is one day I responded to a cardiac arrest in the middle of Walmart — it actually ended up being a friend of mine’s wife.  “I did CPR on her in the middle of Walmart and beat EMS there by several minutes.”

Funding for the program was provided through $47,000 in grants received from the City of Muskogee Foundation. MPD Chief John Teehee said the unit will become more visible in the future.  “They’ll have markings on their car that shows who they are,” he said. “We look to expand it to more officers and Doc’s (Antar) already said it’s teaching this at other places that hopefully it grows.”

Dunlap, a 10-year veteran of the force, said his training came in very handy recently when he had to respond to an incident involving a 2-year-old.  “It was a case of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound,” he said. “I was there 7-and-1/2 minutes before EMS arrived. We need to go to the chief and say we need to be able to do this for these people and now we’re able to do this.”

Antar, who is also an emergency room physician, has only been on the force 14 months but said he’s always felt a calling to “serve and protect.”  “We’re refocusing some of our training priorities and trying to make medical training a priority,” Antar said. “One of the things we’re doing is developing a curriculum for the academy. We’ve taught it twice already at Tulsa County Sheriff’s at their academy and we want to take it to Ada and talk to CLEET (Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training) and say ‘What you’re doing right now is great, it’s just inadequate.”

Teehee updated the City Council last week about the program. “I told the City Council that this is just another example of our department being the leader in something.”

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