DENVER | Aurora police Officer Dale Leonard’s recollection of the night his partner was shot in 2014 is foggy.
“I only remember moments, snippets of that whole series of events,” he said.
He remembers grabbing the tourniquet he had been carrying for about six months, wrapping it around Officer Ryan Burns’ leg and hustling his wounded partner into a patrol car and off to a nearby hospital. From when he reached for the tourniquet to when he cinched it down took only about 20 seconds, Leonard said.
And he remembers how crucial that simple tourniquet proved to be.
Without that device — and Leonard’s quick reaction — doctors have said Burns may have died that day.
In the coming months, 2,000 other police officers around the state will have that same life-saving device on them. Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced Thursday, March 24, her office is donating 2,000 Individual Trauma Aid Kits, which include a similar battlefield-style tourniquet to what Leonard used, and other emergency response equipment.
“Following a life-threatening injury, when time matters and every second counts, having the basic equipment to sustain life until further medical treatment can be found is essential,” Coffman said.
During a press conference Thursday at the Ralph Carr Judicial Center in Denver, Coffman — standing with Burns, Leonard, Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz and others — said the devices could be especially helpful for officers in rural areas, where hospitals can be miles away.
In Aurora, several officers have been using the devices in recent years, but their use hasn;t been mandatory, said Deputy Chief Paul O’Keefe. Going forward, use of the devices will be mandatory for officers in the field, as will regular trainings in how to use them, he said.
Coffman said the first 2,000, kits, which cost about $60 each, are being paid for using money from an asset forfeiture fund. She said she hopes to make the program an ongoing effort so more officers around the state can use them.