POCATELLO -- Those with the Portneuf Health Care Foundation presented Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen with a check in the amount of $76,550 Tuesday morning.
The donation represents a new partnership that has formed between the two entities.
"We have been talking about combining forces for six months to a year now," Nielsen says. "With this money, we will be able to respond to tactical calls with medical first-responders at our side. During life-and-death situations, even in remote areas, we will be able to care for possibly injured victims , suspects and law enforcement agents at the scene."
Specifically, the funds will support the Southeast Idaho Special Tactics and Response Team, or STAR. Members of the STAR unit respond to critical incidents that may occur in Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou , Franklin, Oneida and Power counties.
Such incidents the STAR team might respond to include situations in which barricaded gunmen, hostages or active shooters are involved. They might also accompany law enforcement who are serving a high risk search or arrest warrant, who are seeking crowd-control or who have been assigned to protect a dignitary.
The team consists of tactical team leaders, hostage negotiators, immediate-action team members and snipers. All of the team members have received special training.
"The emergency room doctors and paramedics will also be suited up," Nielsen explains. "For example, we would be able to take care of the injured immediately if a mall shooting occurred here (in reference to the New Jersey incident this week).
Being able to offer triage support, meaning prioritized health assessments , at the scene is an extreme quantum leap forward in public safety services for us."
The donation will be used to provide training for the new STAR members and to purchase additional equipment for their use.
"We hope to have the new team members ready to go before the beginning of the new year," Nielsen says. "I am so excited about this. No one else has this sort of partnership in place. With the addition of the health professionals on hand, we hope to save lives."
Nielsen indicated that Bannock County Sheriff's Office employees submitted a grant to the Portneuf Health Care Foundation, which was recently accepted.
The Portneuf Health Care Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)( 3) organization with an office located at 500 S. 11th Ave., Suite 503. Their primary mission is to enhance and improve the health of those who live in Southeastern Idaho and the surrounding areas.