NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – In 2019, the Neenah Police Department added Tactical Emergency support to its SWAT unit, to provide medical care during “high-risk” operations.
“I’m the lead TEMS Medic with the Neenah SWAT team,” explains Mike Novy, Neenah-Menasha Firefighter. Novy has been with the unit since the launch and has been with the Fire Department for 13 years. “We are integrated or part of the team, and provide any care that would be needed for the citizens of Neenah,” says Novy.
One of the reasons for the addition of a Medic to the SWAT team is the ability to get someone the help they need at the scene quickly, something they say is vital. “The goal is to save lives as fast as possible,” says Lieutenant Jon Kuffel. Kuffel is a SWAT Commander for the Department. “Having trained medical professionals with us as fast as possible betters the odds to save lives,” Kuffel adds.
Officers from different levels of the Neenah Police Department are selected to be on the SWAT unit. There is additional tactical training that is associated with the assignment. Firefighters have their own training that is ongoing and separate from Police training, however, the Medics have an opportunity to learn both.
“The way we treat is a little bit different than traditional,” explains Novy. When a SWAT team is called out to a scene, there is a major situation happening, that requires special tactics. “Our goal is to stop traumatic bleeding, that is usually what we are trying to do,” says Novy.
At this time, only two Medics have been added to the Neenah SWAT team. Their additions are part of a national campaign to add Medics to Department Specialized units. Funding for the Neenah Medics is made possible in part by donations.
“We are still learning, funding is still an issue as far as budgets go,” says Kuffel. Private citizens and some local companies have made donations that have gone directly into the Medic’s equipment. “We want to make sure the program is successful, ideally the more the better,” adds Kuffel.