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NEWS | Oct. 7, 2011

Maryland National Guard members train DEA agents in combat life skills

By Officer Candidate Jessica Donnelly Maryland National Guard

BALTIMORE - You're a drug enforcement agent, and while working a case your partner gets shot. You drag them into another room, but there are still shots being fired in the hallway. You see that they've been hit once in the upper-right chest area and once in the stomach. What do you do now?

This, and other scenarios, were used by members of the Maryland National Guard to help train Drug Enforcement Administration agents during a combat first-aid class Wednesday at Drug Enforcement Agency district office here.

Members of the Maryland National Guard Counterdrug Program coordinated with Soldiers from the 115th Military Police Battalion to bring first-aid and immediate treatment training to the DEA agents Oct. 3 to 7, to give them hands-on and classroom instruction on what to do during a medical emergency.

"All of the agents go through basic medical training in agent school and we have periodic refresher courses, but the refresher courses don't happen often enough and if you don't use it, you lose it," said Special Agent Carl Kotowski, Baltimore District assistant special agent in charge.

"[The training] is very applicable. All the agents in that training may be out on the street for work tonight and if something happens, they'll be ready."

Kotowski explained that after receiving training from the National Guard while assigned to the Ft. Lauderdale DEA office, he realized the value that the Guard members brought to their agency. So, with the help of another agent, they coordinated with the CD Program to bring the training to the Baltimore office.

The training included a classroom block to teach the agents the basic concepts of combat first-aid and then gave them a chance to implement what they had learned by practicing the life-saving skills on a training dummy.

The National Guard member would present a scenario of how the victim had received their injuries and the agent would use first-aid supplies from the combat lifesaver bag to perform the way they would in an actual emergency.

The topics covered included treating gunshot wounds, burns and broken bones, bleeding control, different types of bandages and what they're used for, tourniquets, CPR, and how to tend to their own wounds.

"The training makes them feel more confident about their skills," said Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth Butler, Md. CD Program DEA liaison criminal analyst. "It's a great experience all around."

Butler explained that the class attendance was on a volunteer basis and they had hoped for 12 agents to attend, however, about 20 agents participated and there is already a demand for another session to be held.

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive," Butler said. "I have agents coming up to me in the hallway telling me how great the training has been."

On a daily basis the DEA works in close relation to the Maryland National Guard CD Program. The agency has a CD member assigned to them, working as a criminal analyst.

Butler works with the DEA to help develop drug investigation cases, which can potentially lead to the arrest of illegal drug dealers in the Baltimore area.

"The National Guard has really been an invaluable tool and a great partner," Kotowski said.



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