Current New Jersey law does not permit a police officer to physically transport a gunshot victim to a hospital emergency room, even if the ambulance that’s been called gets stuck in traffic.

That could soon change.

The state Assembly has passed a so-called “scoop and run” measure allowing an officer trained as a first-responder to use a police cruiser to take a victim of gun violence to a nearby ER.

The sponsor of the legislation, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, D-Passaic, said in emergency situations that could help avoid "losing precious minutes waiting for local EMTs to arrive on the scene.

She said “we are trying to save lives and make sure that we do not lose precious minutes where care may be rendered to save someone’s life.’

Sumter said in New Jersey, every officer gets emergency medicine training..

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She said the term “scoop and run” refers to a practice that is already used in Philadelphia.

“It’s where the officers are typically the first on the scene, especially when it comes to a violent shooting, where they can actually scoop the person up and take them urgently to the nearest emergency room," Sumter said

Sumter said she is not aware of any specific documented instances in the Garden State where a gunshot victim who might have otherwise survived with immediate medical care died while waiting for a delayed ambulance.

But the idea, she said, is "to be sure we have as many avenues as possible to save a life."

She pointed out the measure would allow police to take transport action in any situation involving a medical emergency, not just shootings.

The legislation is scheduled to be considered by the State Senate sometime next month.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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