By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Calling it a crucial piece of legislation that will save lives, assembly members Felix Ortiz and Nicole Malliotakis are working against the clock for passage of “Briana’s Law,” a bill that would mandate the retraining cops in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
The assembly passed the bill, but the legislation is stalled in the senate. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park), the sponsor of the bill, and Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) are working against a tight deadline to secure passage in the state senate before the legislative term ends.
“Briana’s Law” is named in honor of Briana Ojeda, an 11-year-old Carroll Gardens girl who suffered a severe asthma attack while playing in a park and died in August of 2010. Briana’s mother was rushing her to the hospital when they were stopped by a police officer. The officer refused to administer CPR, claiming he did not know how to perform it, Ortiz said.
Briana died an hour after arriving at the hospital.
Members of the Ojeda family joined Ortiz and Malliotakis at a rally on the steps Borough Hall on June 15 to call for passage of the bill.
New York City cops are trained in CPR when they enter the police force, but the bill would require cops to be retrained once every two years.
“It’s very critical to have police officers able to perform CPR because they are often the first to respond to an emergency scene,” Ortiz told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “You can safe a life if you act within the first 20 to 30 seconds,” he said.
“Police officers are trained in the Police Academy in CPR. It’s important that they be retrained periodically to make sure their skills are up to date,” Malliotakis told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
“Police officers have to go to the firing range every so often to make sure they can still fire a gun. Why not have the, go for retraining to make sure they can do CPR?” Ortiz asked.
The Ojeda family supports the bill, Ortiz said. “The family said that it will not bring back their child, but it could save other children. It could be a positive solution to a tragic situation,” he said.