The Value of Personal Tourniquets

Every time a new piece of gear becomes popular, there are those who doubt its usefulness or value on the streets. Bean counters question whether it is worth the expense. Veterans wonder why younger officers need something they never had. Personal tourniquets are no different; despite their proven value in combat operations, there continues to be debate concerning whether they should be issued or not. Let this be further validation of their benefit.

On April 17th, Philadelphia Police Department Officer James McCullough and his partner were on patrol when they were flagged down by a citizen reporting that her car was being broken into. Officer McCullough and his partner confronted the two suspects and soon found themselves in a foot chase. After tackling one suspect and engaging in a brief struggle, Officer McCullough was shot in the thigh by his suspect.

Despite bleeding profusely, Officer McCullough continued to engage the now fleeing suspect and even returned fire three times before then tending to his own wounds. By applying a personal tourniquet to stop the bleeding, Officer McCullough was able to be transported to the hospital by his partner and is expected to make a full recovery.

Personal TourniquetBy the way, both suspects were also apprehended a short time later by other officers. A win-win – officer is okay and suspects are behind bars. This is but one account of how tourniquets have saved countless lives, allowing officers who otherwise may have succumbed to their injuries to not only survive but return to full duty. But there are still those who question the tourniquet’s place on the modern duty belt.

Bean counters continue to debate the cost vs. reward of purchasing yet another piece of gear. But I would ask them “What is more cost effective – spending $25 to save an officer’s life or potentially losing not only a member of your department but the investment you have made training them?”  Worst case scenario is that you spend the money and none of the units ever get used – you are still ahead of the curve.

For the veterans questioning the need for yet another piece of gear they never needed, I would point out that many worked during the time of wheel guns and no body armor but that doesn’t mean either of those should be abandoned. If that still doesn’t quiet their complaints, I would start leaving the want ads and retirement brochures on their desk.

Finally, for the officers who have to go without because of a lack of foresight by their chain of command. It would be nice if you were issued everything you needed and even better if everything you were issued were top shelf. Truth is, neither of these statements are fact and that is a sad fact of life. Spend the $25 yourself and make sure you have the equipment necessary to get yourself home at the end of your shift. When your department finally comes around and issues one, you will have a spare.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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