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The focus on “observe and report” has come about since members of the patrol are not trained or licensed as security guards, are prohibited from carrying weapons (even if the member has a concealed carry permit), are provided with no first aid training, are not required to have CPR training, and we have no police authority to control traffic, etc on public roadways. Thus, for many years the training of patrol members has been to focus on “observe and report”. If there is an accident, the patrol members are instructed to call 911 to ensure a prompt police and ambulance response. If there is something suspicious taking place at a residence to back off and immediately call for a Henderson PD response.
Providing medical assistance, giving rides to residents, etc are all things that the patrol does not regularly do as part of their mission and regular duties. This has been a consistent policy since I joined the Community Patrol in 2011 and for the two years I served as Chief of the Community Patrol. While this was the policy and our training emphasized “observe and report” only, we also constantly emphasized the use of common sense when encountering potential situations. Here are some examples:
- Normally the Patrol is not to block a street by putting out orange cones or using the patrol vehicle to block the area. The response should be to call the Henderson PD. However, if there existed an imminent danger then we asked our members to exercise their common sense. Thus, if a portion of the roadway had given in to a large sink hole, I can not think of a member who would not put out orange cones or put the car with its lights flashing into a position to block others from driving into the hole.
- While we do not provide first aid as a normal part of our volunteer work, would our volunteers let a person bleed out if they had a spurting arterial wound. The answer would again be using common sense to do something to preserve life while the PD and Fire Rescue Units arrived.
- If a persons car broke down and it was freezing outside or 120 degrees would we refuse to take the person home. Again using common sense our volunteers would respond to do what is right and needed.
These are just some examples. In getting new First Aid kits it would not be unusual to emphasize that these are for the use of volunteers and not to be used to give first aid to the general community. After all we are not trained in first aid and the kits we use are not purchased to have all of the things needed to treat anything other than general cuts and abrasions. However, does that mean we would not use what we have at our disposal if we came across a life and death situation? The answer is that we would use our common sense and use the first aid kit, our belts and anything thing else useful to stop the bleeding and to try to safe a life.
Before blowing this issue up, please put it into perspective of what the CP volunteers are generally equipped to do and what they are instructed to do. While the training focuses on “observe and report”, all of our trainings over the past 6 years we have always added the caveat to say “normally” and to also use our “common sense” in non routine situations. While I am no longer a member of the Patrol, I do not think that anything has changed in the past 6 months under the capable leadership of Gene Freeze.
Stephen Anderson, past Community Patrol Chief 2015 and 2016