Device will protect first responders

Deb Zwez

With the opioid crisis at the top of many agendas, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has outlined his plan to put a new piece of equipment in the hands of first responders to ensure they stay safe as they confront dangerous drugs in their communities.

Brown held a press conference call Wednesday to introduce his bipartisan bill designed to help law enforcement officers detect fentanyl – and protect themselves from accidental overdoses while in the field.

“Law enforcement is on the front lines” battling the opioid epidemic, Brown said, and the success of securing new screening devices for federal law enforcement agencies led him to work to give Ohio officers the same tools to protect themselves.

First responders are facing “unprecedented health risks,” Brown said. “We need to give Ohio officers the same tools to address Ohio’s opioid epidemic.”

The bill, called the POWER Act, is co-sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and builds on the federal INTERDICT Act, Brown said. President Donald Trump signed INTERDICT into law earlier this year.

Cuyahoga Falls Chief of Police Jack Davis, who supports the measure, joined Brown on the conference call.

“I’m thankful for the introduction of this bill,” Davis said, noting men and women in his department are at risk every day. “This is another level of safety.”

The devices are hand-held and could...

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