Seven Moorpark deputies and some city staffers began a 10-week course this week to become emergency medical technicians, the first such large-scale training of Ventura County sheriff's deputies.
Sheriff's Lt. Geoff Dean, who heads Moorpark enforcement, said the training would be beneficial to the city on a daily basis and in case of an emergency that cuts off resident access to hospitals or medical care.
"We just thought it would be a great program to benefit the city," Dean said Friday. "In essence, it provides that many more medically trained people to respond to not only larger emergencies, but to routine calls for service."
Dean said he approached Pruner Health Services President Don Pruner to arrange for the training and was gratified when Pruner agreed to run the course for free. The training costs the Sheriff's Department nothing, Dean said, because deputies go on their own time or while their shifts are being covered by other on-duty officers.
The first group began training Thursday with an eight-hour session at the East Valley Sheriff's Station, Dean said. Joining the Moorpark deputies and city staffers were three Thousand Oaks deputies and one Thousand Oaks city employee.
The students will meet each Thursday for the all-day sessions through December, when they will receive their state certification. A second group is scheduled to begin the training in February, Dean said. All but a few of the Moorpark force's 21 sworn officers are expected to complete the training.
Moorpark Mayor Paul Lawrason said he was glad to see an increase in the level of medical savvy among city officers and officials.
"It's rather innovative," Lawrason said of the program. "This will make things even better, in that the first person on the scene--whether it happens to be police, fire or the ambulance company--will have medical training, and you couldn't have a better situation than that."
Steve Murphy, Pruner's chief administrative officer, said the training offers a good background in basic medical care.
"EMT training basically provides care givers with a fairly broad knowledge base along the lines of first aid, but more advanced," Murphy said. "They can do things like emergency childbirth. They learn CPR and how to manage airways at the basic training level, bandaging, splinting, management of shock."
The course syllabus also features lessons on the human skeleton, head and spinal injuries, hyperventilation, sexual assault and rape, poisons, burns, and moving injured patients.
Bob Brooks, chief deputy of the Sheriff's Department, said the training would benefit both his officers and city residents.
"We provide (deputies) general first aid training and refresher courses in CPR, but we've never provided any higher level of medical training for our staff beyond what is mandated by law, basically because of the cost," Brooks said. "This has opened up an area of training that we've never been able to provide before."