Bill Employs “Scoop and Run” Practice to Help Shootings Victims Get Help Faster if Emergency Transport is Delayed, Saving More Lives
Enabling New Jersey law enforcement to act in the best interest of gunshot victims if medical transport is unavailable, legislation that would allow police officers trained as a first responder to transport a victim of gun violence to the hospital advanced Thursday, 55-17-5, with approval by the Assembly.
The bill (A-4511), sponsored by Assemblywomen Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), is based on a practice established by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1987. Known as “scoop and run,” it allows Philadelphia police officers to take shooting victims to the hospital before the arrival of ambulance services.
The legislation authorizes a county or municipal law enforcement officer who has been trained as a first responder to immediately transport a person requiring urgent medical care to the nearest hospital or other appropriate health care facility if an emergency medical vehicle is unavailable or delayed.
Under the bill, a first responder means a law enforcement officer who has been trained to provide emergency medical first response services in a program recognized by the Commissioner of Health. The bill defines “emergency medical transportation” to mean the prehospital transportation of an ill or injured patient.
The sponsors issued the following statement on the legislation:
“Police officers are often the first to arrive at the scene. Getting gunshot or stabbing victims to medical care quickly can mean the difference between life and death.
“Law enforcement must be able to act to save lives if an emergency medical vehicle has trouble getting to the scene for any reason. This may not happen often; however, when it does, an officer must be able to take action and transport the victim to a hospital. Allowing them to transport residents in need of life-saving medical care will help save more lives.”