FWPD reinstates tactical medic unit after Matt Pearce shooting

Matt Pearce Returns To Work

FORT WORTH -- Few people are likely as excited to go to work as Fort Worth Police Officer Matt Pearce.

It was unclear if Pearce would ever work again, or even survive, after he was shot five times during a police chase on the city's west side in March.

He was in bad shape when his former partner, Officer Brandi Kamper, saw him on the scene.

"This bag is the one I used with Matt," she said, showing us a tactical medical kit.

Kamper used her tactical medic training to stabilize Pearce until the helicopter arrived.

"We used chest seals on Matt — there were several chest seals used on him," she said.

They are skills and tools both she and Pearce learned while part of the department's Tac Med Unit. It's a unit made up of highly-trained officers who can administer medical help to officers, victims, or suspects in dangerous situations, or until emergency medical staff arrives.

"We just want to give the medical personnel a better opportunity to deal with live people," Kamper said.

For reasons that are still somewhat unclear, Fort Worth's Tac Med Unit was shelved in October of last year.

"I think that was one of the big questions asked right after my shooting," Pearce said. "'When is Tac Med coming back?'"

That question was answered quickly. In April, at the direction of new Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, Tac Med was reinstated.

The need was obvious.

"It was kind of the hard way to find out we needed it," Pearce said.

"Everybody's very happy. They're very excited," said Lt. Scott Keenum, who's overseeing the new department.

Keenum says the unit is already three times the size it was before it was shelved. There's now a Tac Med officer on patrol in every division. They hope that presence increases people's chances of surviving violence.

"My goal is to expand the unit significantly," Keenum said.

Their newest member joined Tuesday: Officer Matt Pearce.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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