Montgomery County adding tactical paramedics to SWAT team

(WISH photo, file)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — A plan that has been in the works for nearly a decade is finally coming to fruition in Montgomery County.

Local leaders announced the addition of six tactical medics to the county’s SWAT team. The group will be made up of Crawfordsville firefighters and paramedics.

Crawfordsville Fire Chief Scott Busenbark says he’s eager to see what lies ahead.

“I’m excited for the six guys that are involved in it,” Busenbark said. “They’ve worked really hard to achieve their goal. It wasn’t an easy selection process for them.”

SWAT situations currently require the scene to be secured before medics can provide care. The tactical medic program will help eliminate some of the problems that occur with delayed medical care. It will also increase chances of survival.

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton says the addition is a big leap forward.

“It puts us on the cutting edge,” Barton said. “Number one, we become an example for other communities. Also, we know that we can adequately protect our community and provide better safety for the responders.”

SWAT commander Michael Kersey says the program has been incorporated in hundreds of cities around the U.S. But for a community the size of Montgomery County, it’s a big deal.

“For a rural community such as ours to have access to this is really a great thing for us to be able to pull off,” Kersey said.

The medics will officially begin their duties next month, but some have already been training voluntarily.

Seth McCloud and Jeremiah Thompson will be joining the team.

“It’s privilege to be a part of a team like this, and there’s a lot of work that goes into it, and for us, it’s just another way that we can give back,” McCloud said.

“Crawfordsville being the community that it is, and Montgomery County, we have more resources in this small department than a lot of the bigger cities, and it’s awesome just to be able to branch out on that and continue to give the best care possible to the citizens here,” Thompson said.

Overall, Kersey says he has a lot of gratitude for those involved in the program and hopes to continue garnering support.

“For these tactical medics to jump on board, realizing that they’re going to be away from home more than they are already and taking a risk that they are beyond taking now, should show the community the dedication that the public safety in this community has for their welfare,” Kersey said.