Metro Atlanta first responders weigh on ambulance cancellations - CBS46 News

Metro Atlanta first responders weighing on ambulance cancellation policies

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Milton Police Chief Deborah Harrell is defending one of her officers after he canceled an ambulance that was called to the shooting of 16-year-old Alex Koser on Sunday. That same ambulance was recalled to the scene seven minutes later when paramedics detected cardiac activity. Despite the delay, Milton officials say Koser would not have survived even if the ambulance arrived when it was first called.

Harrell admits the officer shouldn't have canceled the ambulance, but she also said Koser never had a pulse. But Joseph Bryant, a Lt. with the Cobb County Fire Department had a different take on the situation.

"Just because they don't have a pulse doesn't mean they are dead and the ambulance needs to be canceled," Bryant said. "As far as our standard operating procedure we normally cancel the ambulance."

CBS Atlanta asked Harrell if her department should change its policies and procedures.

"No. I would be very uncomfortable making a blanket rule saying an officer can't cancel a resource," Harrell said. 

Cobb County isn't the only jurisdiction with policies in place that restrict who can cancel an ambulance. Fulton and Gwinnett counties both allow only firefighters or paramedics to cancel ambulances when there are critical or life threatening injuries.

"The police officers do get some first aid training, but as a general rule the fire department is going to be more trained. They are going to be paramedics or EMTS, so they are going to be more qualified to make those determinations," Bryant said.

Milton police have charged 46-year-old Eric Brandon with murder for the shooting death of Koser, his stepson. Brandon has also been charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He remains in the Fulton County Jail. 

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