Putting a lifesaving drug in the hands of police officers has become a controversial proposal at one of the state’s biggest departments.
Right now in New Haven, fire officials and EMTs carry Narcan, and police don’t, and they want it to stay that way, saying safety is really at stake.
“I'm not saying we're not willing to sit down and discuss it, but it's something that needs to be further looked into instead of just saying they're going to give it to us,” said Craig Miller, president of the New Haven police union.
The police union, as well as the firefighters union, are pushing back on the idea, explaining that it is a safety issue.
“They have to make sure there's a proper airway, pulse, so there's more things involved that we don't do,” Miller said.
“The police officer has to get on the ground and breathe through a small apparatus, into the patient's mouth and it exposes their firearm. We want the community to be protected and the firefighters to be protected,” said Frank Ricci, New Haven firefighter union president.
The heroin epidemic hasn’t missed New Haven, and that’s why Mayor Toni Harp wants all first responders to be equipped with the drug.
The city points at other towns where officers have it, but Ricci said with a three minute average response time, New Haven should be treated differently.
“If you were in Durham, you have a resident trooper, there's a possibility that trooper may be on scene for 20 minutes before the fire department arrives,” Ricci said.
Even if officers were to administer Narcan, there’s a lot that goes into the process after it’s applied, and Miller said his officers just don’t have that training.
Miller said the city never made a specific request as to where the Narcan would be either, like if it would be in the car or if officers would wear it on their belt, so the negotiations will go on, but there is no timetable as to when things could get resolved.
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