First Responders wearing protection amid increase in violence

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 NEWS) - First responders are peace officers designed to aid individuals during violent acts or general accidents. Over the past few weeks crime and car crashes are on the rise. First responders are called to thousands of accidents annually in the state of Illinois, says Josh Bradshaw, Community Resource Management for Advanced Medical Transport.

He says AMT’s, Advanced Medical Transport, are nearby but wait for police approval of safety before arrival.

“We do our very best to make sure we don’t enter a scene that isn’t safe. But, we also want them to be comfortable. We want them to be confident that they can do their job safely and effectively,” says Bradshaw.

AMT’s have the option to wear bulletproof vests, but these vests are very heavy and uncomfortable to work in. Most AMT’s decline the option to wear such a vest.

The Peoria County Coroner’s Office all have completed a forty-hour firearm training from Illinois Central College. Currently one person wears a bulletproof vest but the entire staff will each have one in the next three months.

Peoria Coroner, Jamie Harwood says since he works on call he carries a firearm at all times. Even when he is not working crime scenes he has been in uncomfortable situations.

“Through the grief process and the situation that they were dealing with at the time through the loss of a loved one through a situation of violence made them upset and I was caught in the middle with no protection.”

He says there is always a police presence on the scene.

“We always have a police presence. And that’s one of the best things we have here at our coroners office, our relationship with our law enforcement,” says Harwood.

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