When Jon Scowden, former assistant chief of the Westerville Police Department, took the position of chief deputy at the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, he said it felt “like coming back home.”
Scowden said he was born and raised in Delaware County and graduated from Buckeye Valley High School before heading to The Ohio State University and ultimately, to the police academy. Scowden said he worked a brief stint as a police officer in Powell but spent the past 25 years at the Westerville Police Department.
Scowden currently lives in Centerburg with his wife and three children and added he’s a man of faith and “an open book.”
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin said he has known Scowden for many years and offered him the job of chief deputy for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office after the position became vacant last year.
“This is a dream opportunity for me,” Scowden said. “This is an opportunity where I felt God was leading me, that this is the place I needed to be.”
Scowden said Westerville was “an awesome department” but said he could not turn down the chance to come back home to Delaware.
Martin said Scowden is one of three chief deputies at the department and will oversee the patrol division of the sheriff’s office.
“We’re fortunate to have him,” Martin said. “I’ve known Jon for 38 years. We have a lot of history, both personal and professional, and he fits in line with what we look for overall. He’s empathetic and understands the community we serve.”
Martin praised work Scowden did in Westerville when he helped lead an initiative to educate autistic individuals on how to interact with the police and vice versa.
Scowden said he has a son who has high-functioning autism and considered what would happen if his son was stopped by a police officer while he was driving.
“How would he react? How would that police officer interact with him, because I know the communication disability that there is there?” Scowden said.
Scowden added he has helped train 400 law enforcement officers across the state and said the sheriff encouraged him to continue the training after moving to Delaware. “We feel it’s very important.”
Scowden said he knows there’s a difference between municipal law enforcement and county law enforcement and said he’s excited to learn and be part of the Delaware County community.
“I want to learn,” Scowden said. “This is a new learning opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to learning all the different aspects of the sheriff’s office. I know a lot of people here that I just haven’t seen in years.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.