Long Beach Police and Fire Department use sedative on ‘excited delirium’ suspects in pilot program – CBS Los Angeles
LONG RANGE (CBSLA) – Pilot program in Long Beach teaches first responders how to recognize someone with ‘excited delirium’, then has a trained paramedic sedate the person, hoping to reduce the likelihood of using force to control it.
Body camera video from last November shows LBPD trying to stop a man in a metro station. The situation lasted more than 30 minutes before the man jumped out of the window of a busted train towards the officers.
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It is in these kinds of situations, according to Police Chief Robert Luna, that instead of officers using excessive force, a paramedic came in and sedated the man with a known sedative. under the name of Midazolam.
“And then immediately took him to the hospital where he needs to be. He doesn’t need to be in jail. He needs immediate medical attention, and that’s exactly what we’ve done here at Long Beach, in this video, ”said Chef Luna.
The pilot program started in January and since then paramedics have only had to administer the sedative to about three dozen people and so far, they say, the new approach has been successful.
Nearly 1,000 firefighters, police officers and about 60 dispatchers in Long Beach are now trained to recognize a person in a state of agitated delirium, whether through drugs or alcohol, mental illness or uncontrolled anger.
On site, only a qualified paramedic can assess the person and administer Midazolam in these cases.
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“Even though firefighters, our paramedics, have had a protocol in place for many years to use Midazolam for different types of incidents, including excited delirium, the big change is that now we are working together with PD and now it’s a joint effort to, once again, bring medical interventions to these people, ”said Chief Xavier Espino of the Long Beach Fire Department.
There are, however, major criticisms as to whether sedatives should be used outside of a health care setting.
On Wednesday, three Colorado officers and two paramedics were charged with the death of Elijah McClain, who prosecutors said was placed in a carotid socket and injected with ketamine after being arrested on his way home in 2019.
The Long Beach pilot program does not use ketamine, and officials said midazolam has been adopted by agencies across the county.
“I think it’s important to note that everyone in public safety is always striving to improve our performance,” Chief Espino said.
“At the end of the day, the outcome is very positive for the person receiving the care,” said Chief Luna.
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Firefighters and the police chief said they will continue to monitor the progress of the program, but cannot say how long the program will last.