Frankfort Police Department (FPD) officers recently received new tools and regulations that officials say will help improve their response to emergency calls.

FPD claimed that police officers are commonly the first responders to situations involving an opioid overdose, and officers were expected to provide numerous doses of Narcan to the individual before emergency services arrived utilizing the Narcan nasal spray officers are required to carry.

Intranasal Narcan is an accessible form of Narcan that is administered through the nose and may take two to five minutes to take effect in the individual. FPD Chief Scott Shoemaker relayed that waiting five minutes for Narcan to process in an individual’s system may become an issue depending on the response time from other emergency services.

To combat the waiting time of the Narcan Nasal Spray, Clinton County Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS) elected to provide every patrol officer with a bag-valve-mask that provides one four milligram dose of Narcan. Officers will use the device to help assist the individual with breathing while awaiting CCEMS or Frankfort Fire Department responders.

“Two to five minutes is a long time (to) do nothing while officers wait for EMS,” said Shoemaker. “Now, officers will have a new tool to save lives.”

The device is intended to help the individual regulate breathing while the Narcan does act to prevent the effects of an opioid overdose. CCEMS Director Steven Deckard commented that the breath-control aspect of the device is essential for the health of the individual while emergency services members respond.

“Providing supplemental breaths for patients not breathing adequately is paramount in prevention of brain damage and deterioration into cardiac arrest,” said Deckard.

The new tool is intended to ensure that FPD officers are updated on the newest innovations in overdose prevention, and Shoemaker claimed that training is planned to begin immediately.

“This is the first change to our response in ten years,” said Shoemaker. “Research shows that providing air is more important than pushing multiple dosages of Narcan.”

FPD also received new tools to encourage communication between people who are nonverbal, autistic or suffering from mental health issues and officers.

The communication boards debuted in Clinton County with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office through a grant provided by the Autism Society of America and the Autism Society of Indiana. FPD also received funding from Today’s Champions to help purchase the communication boards that will be placed in every first responder and law enforcement vehicle at FPD.

The boards feature numerous pictures that help those who are nonverbal, have limited English skills, have autism or have other disabilities that may cause difficulty in verbal communication. The pictures are related to most of the common questions asked by police officers, such as a pain scale to gauge the need for further aid by medical services.

For more information regarding the communication boards, contact the Autism Society of Indiana at autismsocietyofindiana.org or kbrownofland@gmail.com