DENVER (CBS4) – While discussions continue about the use of ketamine, many law enforcement agencies around the country do not use it at all.
“If we have a combative suspect or subject, we don’t have the authority here in Anaheim to order or demand that certain sedatives be given to that subject,” Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer said.
Carringer is also the public safety information officer and he told CBS4 medics there do not use ketamine. He talked to CBS4 about how officers de-escalate an uncooperative person.
“A variety of tactics that we can employ, speech, deflection, have them refocus on something else, talking to them in a calm manner,” he listed of training officers receive.
Locally, Denver attorney Jeff Wolf has had clients who were subdued with ketamine.
“It’s something that should be stopped being used altogether,” he said.
On Monday the Aurora Council decided to pause the use of ketamine, but Wolf said that many other cities have yet to even take up the issue.
“Any doctor will tell you, you don’t give somebody as severe a medication as ketamine without knowing the conditions they may have,” Wolf said.
But even in areas where ketamine is not used, there are instances where a sedative may still be given.
“Anaheim Fire and Rescue would come in and evaluate the patient and under their medical guidelines try to get vitals and they’re going to make an assessment call on whether the patient needs to be sedated,” Carringer explained.
Carringer told CBS4 it’s a 5 milligram dose of a drug called Versed, and that person has to be taken to the hospital immediately.
“It has to be done with a medical necessity, it’s separate from a control device we use,” he added.