To the editor,
The police accountability and transparency act, House Bill 6004, will do more than increase crime. It will increase needless deaths and long-term disability for heart attack victims.
In many towns in Connecticut, particularly the Route 8 and routes 67 and 63 corridors from Waterbury down to Orange and including Naugatuck, Ansonia and Woodbridge, police are the first responders before ambulances and paramedics show up. It’s the police who arrive on scene within a minute or two for EMS calls with a defibrillator, CPR and oxygen-assisted ventilation. Brain death begins within 4 minutes without oxygen. Advanced life support from ambulance companies is usually 5 to 10 minutes away.
I know firsthand. I survived a heart attack, and it was the police in my living room within 1 to 2 minutes standing by with defibrillator ready and basic life support gear in an orange nylon bag. Naugatuck Ambulance showed up with EMTs within 5 minutes and AMR with a second ambulance with a paramedic on board within 10 minutes.
This bill will result in fewer police officers. Now, with fewer police officers on patrol, quite simply more people are going to die who wouldn’t have died. People just like me. And, the unforeseen cost? Those who survive but become permanently disabled because help arrived too late to prevent brain damage. Maybe they can’t walk. Maybe they can’t talk. Maybe they’ll be sitting in a wheelchair inside a nursing home on Title 19. What’s that going to cost? Who’s going to pay for that? (Trick question). Was this issue raised? Is the governor and his supporters in the state legislature aloof to this reality or worse, do they not care about people’s safety and health? I submit it’s the latter.