While on patrol, officers with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department have to be ready when a call comes their way.

That call could be about a resident who has stopped breathing and is in need of an automated external defibrillator.

When reserve officers Charlie Murphy and Brad Barker visited VFW Post 1925 in Seymour looking for support for the sheriff’s department’s annual golf scramble, they were asked how they were going to use this year’s proceeds.

They explained the money would go toward purchasing three automated external defibrillators, which cost $1,300 each, along with equipment for the officers.

The next day, someone from the post called and said they were going to provide the funding for one of the automated external defibrillators. The other two and equipment would be covered by the nearly $10,000 raised from the scramble, which was Sept. 19 at Hickory Hills Golf Club in Brownstown.

“It’s real nice that the VFW is in a position where they can do something like that for the community,” Murphy said. “They realize the need, and they know the efforts that we’re putting forth and we’re volunteering our time, so they were very happy to donate and thanked us for what we do.”

Barker said several local businesses and individuals supported this year’s event.

“We had close to 120 raffle prizes to give away just from local people donating stuff,” he said. “It’s not just the businesses, it’s the people in the community that find out about it and they seek us out, ‘How can we help you guys?’”

The sheriff’s department has been conducting a golf scramble as its only fundraiser for about 20 years, and proceeds have benefited the reserve officers for the past five years.

This year’s scramble drew 54 golfers with nine teams of six people.

“It has never been as big as it is now,” Murphy said. “In the last five years, we’ve really ramped it up. The reserves asked to take it over, and we really went out and worked and found donors and supporters and built it up really big.”

Participants’ entry fee included lunch from Darlage Custom Meats and golf supplies, and they had a chance to win a door prize.

“There are teams that have been there since they started this thing. Once people are in, they are in,” Barker said. “We had four or five on a waiting list because we didn’t have room for them.”

The sheriff’s department has 17 reserve officers who are not paid and work at least six hours per week.

“The duties are just the same as a full-time officer,” Murphy said. “If you call 911, you’re not even going to know if it’s a reserve deputy that shows up because we all do the same thing, have the same cars and have the same uniforms.”

This past spring, the sheriff’s department received a donation that allowed automated external defibrillators to be placed in all of its full-time officers’ vehicles. The reserve officers then thought it was necessary to provide them for their cars.

“We try our best to have at least as much equipment as they have,” Murphy said.

“We try to base things off of what’s going to help the community and how can the community benefit from what we’re doing,” Barker added.

Barker knows the value of automated external defibrillators after having to use one a couple of years ago. He also serves on the Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department, and they were called to help revive a man who had fallen and didn’t have a pulse.

“When we got there, we were able to put an AED on him, and it delivered a shock and got a rhythm back,” Barker said. “He’s walking and talking now just like we are.”

Murphy said VFW commander John Schafstall was revived with an automated external defibrillator a few years ago after his heart stopped when he was taking a break from mowing outside the post.

“It hit home for those guys,” Murphy said of the VFW funding an automated external defibrillator.

All of the reserve officers have received training and are certified to use an automated external defibrillator.

“It’s very comforting to know that we have that tool now because if we’re out patrolling in the rural parts of the county, it might take an ambulance 10 to 12 minutes to get to some of the more remote locations throughout the county,” Barker said.

“If we’re even halfway closer than what the ambulance would be, the outcome of getting an AED on the patient can really increase the chances of their survival rate,” he said.

After buying the other two automated external defibrillators, leftover dollars will go toward replacing uniforms and supplying reserve officers with needed equipment.

The sheriff’s department supplies them with some equipment, but they have to purchase some items themselves. It takes at least $3,000 to equip each officer.

“I’m not a golfer, but I tell you what, I’m amazed at what happens out there in that one day,” Murphy said of the scramble. “Everything comes together. The golfers have a good time. We raise quite a bit of money. It’s great. The support is tremendous.”

Barker said he gives all of the credit to those who support the event.

“We’re donating our time, and they are donating some money to help us out,” he said. “We can’t say enough about how much we appreciate it.”

At a glance

For information about the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department reserve officer program, call 812-358-2141.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.