WALHALLA — Four paramedics and a doctor recently completed training at the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy to become certified deputies and will serve in a part-time role as deputies in emergent circumstances along with any activation of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team.
“In an effort to increase the safety and security of our citizens and staff, I know that in some instances seconds can mean the difference between life and death,” said Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “We now have medical personnel certified as deputies that can go behind enemy lines to save lives. The team has served in a volunteer role for several years with the Sheriff’s Office in their medical capacity but was limited in not being able to provide medical assistance until a situation was secure and safe. I appreciate this team’s willingness and dedication to serve in a law enforcement role.”
The Sheriff’s Office is absorbing the cost to implement the medical team within the current budget without any additional cost to taxpayers, said Crenshaw.
Dr. Roshan K. Mathew graduated from the SCCJA on May 26 along with paramedics David E. Stewart and Kent L. Whitten. Paramedics Steven M. Lucht and Adam C. Potts graduated from the SCCJA on Aug. 4.
Crenshaw said the four paramedics and Mathew have 135 years of combined medical experience.
An added benefit to having these medical deputies includes their training in K-9 TCCC to care for the canine officers as well. The new deputies went to a veterinary hospital on their own and learned how to treat gunshot wounds in dogs, intubating animals, IVs and medication, chest decompression, etc. They can also treat the canines for heat related issues.
Planning is underway to offer instruction on running scenario based training for the handlers and the dogs to teach the handlers how to do basic K9 emergency care themselves.