Josephine County law enforcement personnel were honored with the Life Saving Award during the Feb. 15 JoCo Board of Commissioners’ weekly business session.
Sheriff Dave Daniel took the podium at Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass to present these individuals with awards.
“At the Sheriff’s Office we protect with courage and we serve with compassion,” Daniel remarked. “Now that’s easily seen on the streets of Josephine County and in our community. What’s not often seen, maybe even ever, are the efforts of some of our correctional staff.
“Our deputies in the jail do the exact same thing – serve with that kind of pride and that kind of honor; that compassion and that courage. And I will say at times that means saving lives.”
The sheriff went on to recount a situation that occurred at the Josephine County Jail Feb. 2, 2022 around 4:37 p.m.
Deputies “responded to a medical emergency in Unit 800,” Daniel recalled. “Responding deputies located two unresponsive adults in custody, or AICs, who were overdosing on an illegal substance later identified as fentanyl.
“Deputies Quintero, Dolly. Castaneda, Quinn, and Michael immediately secured the area and started the life saving measures of the two unresponsive AICs.”
Daniel added that “numerous” doses of naloxone were administered to the AICs and CPR was immediately started.
Patrol deputies Baird and Petitet joined the rescue, along with control technician Kimberly Bunn.
“Both individuals regained consciousness and were transported to Three Rivers Community Hospital,” said the sheriff. “During the incident, deputies recognized that the two AICs were in medical distress. They took charge, applied their training, and rendered first aid to those two.
“They maintained their correctional awareness during this incident by observing staff members and giving clear direction while working as literally a team to save these two men. The actions of staff in this incident saved their lives. They were, in essence, dead.”
Sheriff Daniel went on to detail two very similar events that took place at the jail July 13, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. and July 21, 2022 at 10:30 a.m., wherein two individuals in both cases overdosed on fentanyl and had to be revived. The former involved deputies Newman, Rodriguez, Ryan and Tobias; the latter deputies O’Donnell, Castaneda, Dolly and Corporal Humphfres.
Daniel called fentanyl “a crisis across the nation” before moving on to a life-threatening situation that did not involve the dangerous substance.
On March 29, 2022 at 9:30 a.m., Deputy Brandon Ludwig responded to a medical emergency taking place in Courtroom 2 at the Josephine County Courthouse. An elderly man had experienced a heart attack, according to the sheriff.
Daniel said Ludwig “began CPR and continued until firefighters with the Grants Pass Fire Rescue arrived and took over.” The man was stabilized and transported to Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford.
Next, Daniel remarked, “There are two people in this room that are never seen. These are control staff; we call them control techs. They are the eyes, ears, hands and feet of this organization within the jail. It is mandated that they stay at their post. They watch everything. Just this week, one caught an individual that was attempting suicide and was able to get deputies there on time to save that person’s life.”
The sheriff concluded that these control techs are “responsible for so much.”
All of the aforementioned personnel were presented with awards for their roles in saving lives.
In his closing remarks, Sheriff Daniel said, “Thank you all for coming today. I appreciate it. These men and women appreciate it and I can guarantee you this: They have character. They have courage, they got compassion and they will continue to serve Josephine County with honor to the best of their abilities.”
Board Chair Herman Baertschiger stated, “A most grateful thank you for all those people recognized today… It’s moments like this that makes this job worth serving. To watch these people serve this community in just a fantastic way.”
Commissioner Dan DeYoung added, “They’re just dedicated to Josephine County. Got a huge job to do and they’re short on staff at all times. But you know what, they’re always working.”
“You do a wonderful job and you need to be recognized more often because you do a fantastic job,” said Commissioner John West. “I know you have our backs and you put your lives at risk and I want to thank you so much for your effort and your work and putting your lives on the line for us.”