Surprise donation provides AEDs for Chisago County patrol cars

A surprise $10,000 gift is being put to use by the Chisago County Sheriff's Department this weekend, making a difference almost immediately for both officers and the people whose calls they respond to.

The department already had automated external defibrillators installed in several of its patrol cars, but thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous woman nearly every one will now carry the life-saving technology.

It's a personally meaningful gift, with a spokesperson saying she lost a close family member due to a heart attack and wanted to do everything she could to prevent anyone else from going through a similar tragedy.

"The deputy who responded to the incident didn't have an AED," said Chisago County Sheriff Brandon Thyen. "She wanted to give back so that another family doesn’t have to go through this, and possibly an AED would save someone else's life."

An AED is an expensive medical device that measures heart rhythm and delivers shocks in order to re-establish a regular heartbeat. It's a gift that's gone to immediate use, a fact not lost on the deputies who respond to life-and-death situations on a daily basis.

"One of our sergeants that was given one of these new AEDs just last week, the very next day we credit him with a save with an AED that was placed in his squad car just the day before," Thyen said.