In an unprecedented move, the Steven M. Gootter Foundation will present the Tucson Police Department with 50 AEDs (automated external defibrillators) to be distributed among patrol cars in June.  AEDs are lifesaving devices when administered to sudden cardiac victims within the first ten minutes of a cardiac event.  One’s survival is often predicated by being in the right place at the right time as every minute is critical.

Police officers are often first on the scene when a cardiac event is reported.  Although one can never predict when and where a sudden cardiac event will take place, by placing AEDs in patrol cars with officers who have been trained on how to use these devices, there is a greater chance a sudden cardiac victim can be saved.

“These AED devices could be the equipment that will allow officers to provide life-saving assistance when time is of the essence,” said Tucson Chief of Police Roberto Villaseñor.  “We are not usurping the role of firefighters or paramedics, but the fact is that there are situations when police officers are the first ones on the scene when life threatening cardiac episodes are taking place, and any equipment that will help us save lives is appreciated. We are extremely grateful to the Gootter Foundation for supplying this equipment.”

“It is a $100,000 investment for the safekeeping of our citizens,” said Gootter Foundation President Andrew Messing.  “It makes sense for our police cars to be equipped with these lifesaving devices. Hopefully, Tucson will become a model city for the rest of the country when this program is implemented.  The more AEDs we place in our community, in locations where they are most likely to be used, the better the odds are that lives will be saved”.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild is thrilled with the donation.  “These AEDs will be a tremendous benefit to our police department and our city,” said Mayor Rothschild. “Seconds count when you’re dealing with cardiac arrest, so it’s important to get these devices into the hands of whoever is first on the scene – paramedic or police officer.  I am very grateful to the Steven M. Gootter Foundation for this most generous gift.”

The official announcement will be made at a press conference on Monday, March 10th at noon at Tucson Police Headquaters at 270 S. Stone.   In addition to Mayor Rothschild, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor, Fire Chief Jim Critchley, Ward 6 Council Member Steve Kozachik, and members of the Gootter Foundation, representatives from organizations that have previously received AEDs including the Tucson Soccer Academy, Tucson Senior Softball, and Salpointe High School will also be in attendance.

 Since July 2009 The Gootter Foundation has distributed over 46 AEDs to schools, places of worship and recreational centers and public places throughout Southern Arizona. Training on the use of  the AED and continuous chest compression is provided for each recipient.  For more information on the Gootter Foundation, please visit

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