Shift Briefing Series: How to carry a downed officer or injured citizen

It is important for law enforcement and other public safety personnel to know how to carry an injured person efficiently and effectively over distance


By David Pearson

The Shift Briefing Series is designed to provide law enforcement officers with short training videos that will help make them smarter, safer and more efficient in daily operations and when responding to critical incidents. The videos address key components of the Top 20 Concepts, a class I created and have presented around the country since 2011. The class addresses 20 foundational concepts in law enforcement that are based in law, policy and ethics, are repeatable and defensible, and assist with critical incident decision-making. Group discussion questions are listed after each video to help solidify the topics and ensure the application is in line with your department’s mission and values. 

With the large number of mass casualty events around the country, it is important for law enforcement and other public safety personnel to know how to carry an injured officer or citizen efficiently and effectively over distance.

This video covers a three-person and two-person carry, as well as a two-person drag, along with the thought process behind the techniques.

After viewing, everyone should have an option that can used in almost every circumstance. This quick video can be used in training to help provide an entire agency with information to make their officers and citizens safer.

The carry methods are not limited to law enforcement and can be used to train school staff or other personnel.

Questions to consider

  1. In addition to patrol resources, who else in your department should be trained in carries?
  2. How often should your department practice officer/civilian carries?
  3. Does your school district personnel have information on injured party carries? Would this training benefit them?
  4.  When approaching a downed LEO, what should you be communicating with them?
  5. Can you think of a time when you might not return to where you started? In other words, you might take the injured party to a different place where is it important for all involved to know the final destination before starting.
  6. What should you do with an injured officer’s weapon? When holstered? On the ground? Rifle?

Next Shift Briefing: The OODA Loop


About the author
David Pearson is a lieutenant with Fort Collins Police Services in Fort Collins, Colorado. He has been a police officer since 1990 and held several assignments as a sergeant and lieutenant. He has been a law enforcement instructor since 1996 and has taught a variety of topics to include officer safety, SWAT tactics, active shooter and incident command.

Since 2005, David has been an instructor for the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) and has taught classes on several disciplines. David’s focus has been in less lethal technology and tactics and he is the main instructor for the NTOA’s Less Lethal Instructor course. David has certified over 1,000 instructors in the United States and Canada in the less lethal course. Since 2013, he has served in the role of Less Lethal Section Chair for the NTOA.

In 2017, David started his company, Rocky Mountain Blue Line Consulting, LLC, and provides expert witness assistance and consulting. David has presented at the annual conferences for APCO, NSA, IACP, California Chiefs, Utah Chief’s and Utah Sheriff’s Association.

David is a two-time Medal of Valor recipient for his actions on patrol and SWAT. He also earned a Medal of Merit for his life-saving efforts during a major flood. He holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership.

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