High-tech mannequins give officers more realistic medical training

Brown County deputies are getting new medical training to treat injured victims
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 5:38 PM CST
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - As we’ve seen a lot in recent years, active shooters and active threats continue happening, but where and when constantly change.

In cases like the shooting at the Oneida Casino Complex and the Waukesha Parade tragedy, victims needed immediate medical attention.

Police are usually the first on scene to give aid and are trained for that.

But now the Brown County Sheriff’s Office is using new high-tech equipment to ensure victims receive the best care possible.

“We can’t wait necessarily for the Rescue Task Force groups to get in there,” says Brown County Sheriff’s Office Training Lt. Trevor Bilgo. “We’re going to have to start applying it, so that’s what this training is all about.”

Saying you know how to put on a tourniquet and then doing it correctly are two very different things.

Deputies are learning that as they rotate through new medical training scenarios to treat injured victims during drills at the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

For years, we’ve shown you how officers have learned to give basic medical aid to victims, and it’s proven life-saving, but the training they’re doing now, using special mannequins, is next level.

“The level of training that happens when you mimic something is not very beneficial. We just fake it,” says Dave Taylor, founder and executive director of the Fall Prevention Alliance of Northeast Wisconsin. “These dummies will bleed. They won’t stop bleeding until you actually put the tourniquet on properly.”

Taylor and others with medical experience are helping coach law enforcement what they should do in these high-stress, emergency situations.

It’s part of efforts by the non-profit, N.E.W. Rescue Task Force, that helps facilitate these kinds of training sessions at businesses, schools and other public places across the area.

In this training session for law enforcement, mannequins -- provided by the Health Care Emergency Response Coaltion (HERC) -- are equipped with an IV bag containing colored water to mimic blood. That gives deputies a better understanding of how much pressure they really need to apply to save a life.

“In the past, we just put them on and kind of just went through the phases, and now they actually physically see what it takes to stop the bleeding on a human body,” says Bilgo.

One of the other differences is obvious looking at one of the mannequins. It’s dressed in an officer’s uniform. Aside from concentrating on treating the injury, having them work on an officer, still wearing his weapons and protective gear, adds another level of training for an officer.

“If they’re in and out of consciousness and just come to, it’s the ability of securing their weapon, making sure that they’re okay, making sure we’re talking to them, letting them know it’s us standing over them and not potentially the bad guy,” explains Bilgo.

The training leads up to a large-scale exercise this fall involving more than 700 police and firefighters across Brown County.

“I think the number of calls that are happening, not only nationwide, but in the region, I think they’ve realized this is important. This could save a life,” adds Taylor.

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