When I first became a deputy in 1976, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office was running the emergency squad service. In about 1970, the State of Ohio ruled that all counties were now responsible to run this type of service for the public. At that time, the sheriff’s office had very few deputies.
Sheriff Eugene Jackson sent a proposal to the Delaware County Board of Commissioners stating that more deputies were needed. There were times when a deputy would take a sheriff’s car home on the night shift. (One car for the east side of the county, and one car for the west side.)
When an emergency call would come in, the dispatcher would call one or the other of those two cars, getting one of the deputies out of bed and sending him on the call.
Running the emergency squad allowed the sheriff to more than double the number of his officers. The emergency squad was painted and marked just like a sheriff’s car and patrolled the county like a sheriff’s car. In theory, there would be two emergency squads patrolling the county at all times.
On any shift, the emergency squad was the first manned priority. There were nights, due to manpower shortages, that the single emergency squad would be the only vehicle patrolling the county. And, of course, emergency medical calls were the top priority.
One night, the emergency squad was dispatched to a burglary alarm. When the squad arrived on the scene, they found the
subject inside the store. He was arrested, and in their custody. But at that very same time, they received a heart attack call. But what were they going to do with the felon they had in their custody? They were not going to let him go, so they handcuffed him to an electric pole and headed to the heart run.
Seeing the dilemma, the dispatcher called the Ohio State Highway Patrol and requested that the patrol pick up the prisoner that was still handcuffed to the pole.
From my understanding, the felon was very indignant about being handcuffed to a pole. This was just one of the problems faced when trying to run two different agencies out of one department.
Some of the other problems had to do with the vehicles. They were on the road 24-7, 365 days a year, and this was very costly. The cars that were made at that time were very different, in that they were being detuned to have less horse power and more smog control. This really slowed the cars down. There was a time when the emergency squad cars were the fastest vehicles in the fleet. It was a very interesting time with so many stories, but some best left inside the memories.
All in all, the deputy/EMS situation was the pioneers of their time.
Delaware County EMS has become one of the top emergency services in the state of Ohio. It has been a guide for other EMS stations to follow. It all began from the services that started in the 70s, and the personal who moved into their dual roles of helping the EMS grow to what it is today.
Loren Pool is a retired Delaware County deputy sheriff.