New partnership between Sudbury police and paramedics will help keep first responders safe

After years of planning and training, a new Tactical Emergency Medics program will see nine paramedics joining the Greater Sudbury Police Service on the front lines.

"Our emergency response unit participates or activates whenever fairly serious or potentially serious events could happen," said Shawn-Eric Poulin, the team lead for the tactical paramedic team. "That being said, we’re talking about knives, guns, possibly explosives, those types of things. So knowing that we can be there immediately and start providing care immediately gives us a solace because we have the skills and I know it makes the ERU members feel more comfortable as well."

The team will be deployed alongside the police department’s Emergency Response Unit for high-risk situations.

"There’s an array of different things that, obviously, we’re deployed to, be it anything high-risk," said emergency response Staff Sgt. Ed Stiller. "Barricade, weapons, etc. So that being said, if we're deployed, they’re deployed with us."

On Wednesday, police officers alongside the new tactical team demonstrated a scenario on how this partnership would look during a real event in the city. Officials said it is a crucial partnership that is needed.

"Seconds count and having the appropriately trained personnel working directly with us, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, being available for immediate care makes an absolute difference," Stiller said.

The idea of this partnership first came up in 2019 and included an application from interested paramedics, physical training, and psychological training for medics ready to join the front line. However, Poulin said his team is ready.

"Every team member can now provide that care immediately if it ever was to come to that. Some of these guys have been dreaming about this since they were in school to become paramedics," he said.

Adding that by being beside officers during a situation, they can care for injuries in a quicker manner than if their vehicles were waiting further away. 

"At present, we have what’s required and that being said, those numbers are based on availability from paramedic services," explained Stiller. "They determined what they were able to offer. It also has a lot to do with what we have available for equipment. So at present, we have nine -- we would like more. Nine is a very good working number for us and we’d like to keep it at that."

Now with training complete and everyone equipped with the necessary gear, both police and paramedics say it's another tool to keep first responders safe in the city.