Spirit of Blue Grants Lifesaving Tourniquets to Every Manatee County Deputy

Receiving the safety grant was (left to right) Capt. Andy Ramdath, Sheriff Rick Wells and Grant Specialist Courtney Bristow of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Presenting the grant was (center to right) Spirit of Blue Vice-Chairman Greg Marholin, Farmers Insurance-Hansen Agency Owner Larry Hansen from Lakewood Ranch, FL and Caseglide, LLC VP of Marketing Nick Kosarzycki of Caseglide based in St. Petersburg, FL.

BRADENTON, FLORIDA – June 13, 2019 – The Spirit of Blue Foundation announced that it has awarded a Safety Equipment Grant to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) to outfit its entire force of 450 deputies with tourniquets and duty belt cases.  The Gen7 C-A-T Tourniquets were purchased through North American Rescue along with RIGID TQ Cases from Eleven 10.  The grant was primarily funded by a partnership with Law Enforcement United and is valued at $31,592.

“We know this will save lives. This will not only help the citizens of Manatee County if we respond to a call before EMS gets there and gives us the ability to help stop their bleeding, but it’s going to be critical during a violent encounter if we have a deputy that’s been shot or severely injured that we have this tool on our belt to help save their life,” stated Sheriff Rick Wells of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at the award presentation ceremony held on Thursday, June 6th.

“If there is an accident scene or traumatic injury, the Sheriff’s Office will likely be first on scene,” added MCSO SWAT Medic Casey Andrews.  “So the application of these tourniquets will save lives, and this C-A-T Tourniquet is the benchmark for tourniquets,”

Tourniquets are vital pieces of medical equipment that deputies require on the road in the event of a traumatic injury to an extremity. When only precious minutes exist to treat such an injury, tourniquets are able to be applied individually or on a fellow deputy to prevent excessive blood loss until that individual can be placed into medical care.  As a secondary benefit, deputies who carry a tourniquet are also able to use them to rescue a member of the community who may have experienced a similar type of injury.  Spirit of Blue Foundation will replace any tourniquet that is used in the line of duty, whether on a deputy or member of the community, for the life of the tourniquet so that no deputy who uses their tourniquet will have to go without one in the future.

Since its first tourniquet grant in 2013, Spirit of Blue has granted 2,700 tourniquets nationwide and five documented community member saves have been made as a result.

“For the cost, these are easily the most valuable pieces of safety equipment we grant each year,” explained Ryan T. Smith, Executive Director of the Spirit of Blue Foundation.  “There will be a day when every peace officer in America will be issued these lifesaving tools right out of their academies.  But, until then, we will do our part to grant as many as possible.”

The lead sponsor for the grant was Law Enforcement United, who has supported Spirit of Blue with over $280,000 in safety grant funding since 2015.  Other sponsors included North American Rescue and Eleven 10 who offered special pricing on the equipment, Wesley and Carly Todd of Caseglide based in St. Petersburg, Florida who are financial supporters and Spirit of Blue Friends of the Foundation and the Farmers Insurance Hansen Agency of Lakewood Ranch, Florida who identified the need MCSO had for tourniquets and coordinated to get that need met.

“This is something that would have taken us a couple of budget cycles to pull off,” continued Sheriff Wells.  “We don’t get this funding without the help of these outstanding partners. These are going to be something we can look back on one day and we’ll report on when they are used. Because they were on the deputy and could be used quickly within seconds, we’ll tell you how many lives we’re able to save because of this.”

Statistics released by the Officer Down Memorial Page show that 52 law enforcement officers have already lost their lives in 2019.  On average, 150 officers are lost in the line of duty each year.  21 of those deaths were firearm related, which so far has been the leading cause of officer deaths this year.  The reality of these statistics, and the increasing number of underfunded law enforcement agencies across the country, fuel the Spirit of Blue safety grant initiative.

The Spirit of Blue Foundation actively encourages the public at large to honor and appreciate law enforcement officers who serve and protect our communities. By supporting the Spirit of Blue Foundation, the public can make an impact in the lives of law enforcement officers every day. To learn more about the Spirit of Blue, or to become an annual member, visit www.spiritofblue.org.

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We are dedicated to the enhancement of officer safety and vitality throughout the law enforcement community by promoting public awareness for their protection and fulfilling safety equipment and training needs.

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THE NEED

Over 900,000 law enforcement officers honorably serve the population of the United States - that equates to 1 officer for every 350 citizens. On average, 125 officers are lost and another 15,000 are injured in the line of duty each year. Yet funding for safety equipment and training is dwindling as tax revenues decline. The need for supplemental funding to protect these officers has never been greater.

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