At issue: allowing medically certified SWAT team members to perform certain medical procedures in the field.
Here's the problem law enforcement officers have: In a SWAT incident like a mass shooting or hostage situation, EMTs and other first responders must stay at a safe distance until the scene is secure. And members of the SWAT team, even those who are medically trained, are not legally protected to perform live-saving measures. But soon, that could change.
Evansville Police officer Lenny Reed has seen his share of combat during his time in the military and the 6 years he's spent on the SWAT team. He knows how dangerous scenes like Sandy Hook can be.
"Every second matters," explains Reed. "It's very chaotic. Everything is coming at you in so many different directions."
But for the men and women who are tasked with running toward the gun-fire, they know they're goal is to save lives. This new legislation, supported by both republicans and democrats in Indianapolis, would allow certain certified swat team members to provide treatment to shooting victims on scene.
Reed says, "It takes a collective effort from everybody in a mass casualty situation to save as many people as we can."
Typically, EMTs and other medical personnel will "stage" blocks away from an active mass casualty scene and wait for police to secure it before they move in. For Reed, he says his biggest fear is seeing a victim that needs his help and not being able to perform those live-saving measures.
"Maybe we're at a stand-off. Maybe it's a hostage situation and a fellow officer goes down or a citizen, or a hostage, goes down. EMS is five minutes away. By the time that five minutes, by the time they can get to that scene to try to intervene, they're dead when I'm right there and can perform that life-saving skill to keep them alive. If we don't push it through, they're dead. I don't want that."
Supporters of the measure, like officer Reed, say not every SWAT member will be allowed to perform these procedures under the legislation. Only those who are specially train and certified would be covered by the law.
"EMTs who have been through a basic Tactical Operator Medics Support class, that has been approved by the Indiana Emergency Medical Services Commission." Reed continued, "It will allow us to do some interventions and be covered under state law.
Officer Reed tells me he's confident these laws, already in force in several states, have saved lives.
The proposal does have bi-partisan support including democrat Gail Riecken and republican Wendy McNamara, the bill's author.