The Warrensburg Police Department is looking to replace its automated external defibrillators, which are 15 years old and quickly approaching the end of their lives.
However, the department’s budget doesn’t allow for AED replacements. Denise Sawyer, an evidence technician, came up with the idea to start fundraising.
“Our budget has been such that we haven’t been able to have the money for all the equipment we need,” said Chief Rich Lockhart. “So, we decided to reach out to our community and see if they’d be willing to help us pay for replacing those.”
The Police Department held fundraisers at Wendy’s and Walmart over the summer. Individuals and local businesses have donated money, and Action Realty donated the money to purchase an entire AED kit, which was matched by an anonymous donor. Western Missouri Medical Center also donated an AED kit.
The Police Department has raised $7,156 through the fundraisers and donations so far, enough to purchase six of the 14 kits that need to be replaced.
Sawyer and Lockhart said they are both proud of how the community has pulled together to raise the funds for the AED kits.
Cheryl Brown, general manager of Wendy’s, said she was excited to work with the Police Department on the fundraiser.
“It was fun,” Brown said. “It drew a crowd in. I definitely believe that Warrensburg is very supportive of the Warrensburg Police Department and fundraisers like that.”
Another fundraiser is planned for Aug. 23 at Wendy’s. Thirty percent of all qualifying sales will go toward purchasing new AED kits.
Jerry Shreve III, a broker at Action Realty, said that they donated an AED in response to the declining reputation that police officers receive.
“There’s been a lot of negativity aimed at the police lately,” Shreve said. “It’s a very unrewarding career. … When we saw that they [the Police Department] were in need of these AED devices, we were able to throw some things together to at least come up with enough funds to purchase one of them.”
Every year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur across the nation, according to the American Heart Association. When they do, swift action and proper tools can be the difference between life and death.
One of those tools is the AED, which is used to restart a person’s heart by shocking it with an electrical current, according to the Federal Food and Drug Administration.
Lockhart said Master Police Officer Ronnie Catts and Officer Eric Walker of the Warrensburg Police Department responded to a call last spring regarding a man who collapsed at a local gym due to cardiac arrest. Thanks to the quick thinking of bystanders, Catts and Walker – and an automated external defibrillator – his life was saved.
For more information about donating to the fund, contact the Police Department at 660-747-9133 or City Hall at 660-747-9131.