Some Tucson police patrol cars will soon be equipped with automatic external defibrillators, devices credited with helping to save the lives of cardiac victims.

The AEDs were given to the department by the Steven M. Gootter Foundation. The foundation has donated 50 of the devices to the Police Department, worth a total of about $100,000.

The AED devices can save lives if they are used within the first 10 minutes of a cardiac episode, said a news release from the foundation.

“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,” Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said in a news release.

The foundation has distributed more than 40 AEDs to schools and nonprofit agencies throughout Southern Arizona since July 2009.

Veronica M. Cruz