Sheriff Tim Cameron & Deputy Richard Forbes

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – The deputies of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office are much more than just law enforcement officers. In responding to emergency calls, lives are often endangered and Sheriff’s Office deputies are extensively trained in CPR, AED and Naloxone use.

During two back-to-back days in June, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office deputies helped save the lives of two people – an 80-year-old man who was playing tennis and a 3-year-old child playing in a pool.

Deputy Richard Forbes responded to both calls and helped to render aid. Both victims have since recovered. 

Deputy recruits at the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy receive extensive training in the Law Enforcement Emergency Medical course, which includes CPR certification. Deputy recruits are trained in at least 25.5 hours in the course in order to meet the objectives of the Maryland Police Training Commission.

All told, the training in CPR, AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and Naloxone totals more than 300 hours at the Criminal Justice Academy’s seven-month session for deputy recruits.

“When I was in the academy, I did not think we would utilize so much medical training and was surprised at the amount of medical calls we handle on patrol,” Deputy Forbes said.

In 2019, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 61 calls classified as medical emergencies and to date this year, officers responded to 27 emergency medical calls.

“We are typically the first person on scene for any medical call and take action before any EMS personnel arrives,” Deputy Forbes said.

Just in his personal experience, Deputy Forbes said he’s had to administer Naloxone three times in one shift at different scenes and CPR twice in one day, which included the use of an AED.

While not every patrol deputy is equipped with an AED, “our goal is to have one for each patrol deputy,” Capt. David Yingling, Patrol Commander, said. “We’re not just a law enforcement agency; we go to great lengths to protect life,” he said.

There are currently 78 AEDs in agency vehicles, Lt. Eva Jones said. An AED “has the capability of shocking the heart back into an organized hearth rhythm,” she said.

An AED device was successfully used by DFC Daniel Holdsworth in saving an 80-year-old man’s life last month. 

“Patrol officers handle anything from the child who needs a Band-Aid to drownings, shootings, stabbings and serious vehicle accidents,” Deputy Forbes said. “I believe we are trained very well and are equipped with great tools and training for any situation given to us which is utilized every day during a normal shift,” he said.

“This is what our deputies do almost every day,” Sheriff Tim Cameron said. “Not only are they on the streets assisting citizens in need and fighting crime, but they also serve on the front lines right alongside with EMTs and paramedics in times of emergency. Citizens can rely on their local deputies to help when it matters the most.”