Exclusive: Cause Of Ramapo Cop’s Heat-Related Collapse Probed
RAMAPO, N.Y. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) — Was he pushed too far? A police officer remained hospitalized Monday night after collapsing during a grueling training session.
It happened on Sept. 2 in the middle of the searing summer heat.
And as CBS 2’s Lou Young reports his injuries were so serious, he needed an organ transplant.
It happened in a place where cops and firefighters are put to the test, and it nearly killed Ramapo Police Officer Richard Dube, a 39-year-old 6-foot-6 giant of a man training with a Rockland County-wide counterterrorism team.
The fallen officer’s boss said county officials should have known better than to push cops to the limit during a heat wave.
“I am questioning whether or not the county should have had that training going on when the counties themselves … the health commissioner had issued an alert that day to curtail outside activity because of the air quality and the temperature nearing 100 degrees,” said Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence.
It’s a physically demanding test, including lots of running, jumping, climbing, pull-ups and sit-ups. There were eight people who participated, but only one who succumbed to the heat.
Officer Dube seemed to get ill and then collapsed. The paramedic on duty went immediately to his aid. When he was removed from the scene his core temperature was more than 108 degrees.
Dube went into a coma. His liver was so badly damaged he underwent a transplant last week at Westchester Medical Center and remains in serious condition nearly two weeks after the incident.
The men in charge of the Elite Reaction Team he was training with are offering sympathy but no apologies for the incident.
“These are S.W.A.T. team members that if they had to respond to an incident would clearly have to respond in any kind of condition,” advisor Chief Robert Varcura said.
“If there was a hostage situation that day, we would have to ignore that heat advisory and get to that hostage or get to that bank robbery or whatever the case may be,” added Rockland County Sheriff’s Department Chief Louis Falco said.
The Ramapo supervisor said that’s not good enough. He wants a change in policy and the county to pick up the bills for Officer Dube’s line of duty injury.
Officer Dube and his wife are expecting their first child. He said he’s looking forward to getting back to work.