N.J. sheriff's office kicks off ambulance pilot program staffed with COs

The program was launched this month and employs officers who transitioned from correctional duties to assist on ambulance calls as needed


By Sarah Calams

PASSAIC COUNTY, N.J. — Staffing shortages continue to affect public safety agencies of all sizes around the country – and Passaic County, New Jersey, is not immune to this problem.

After facing a shortage of EMS volunteers to staff its ambulances, the county is now relying on a new ambulance pilot program being led by the Passaic County Sheriff's Office, NorthJersey.com reported. The program was launched this month and employs officers who transitioned from correctional duties to assist on ambulance calls as needed. The ambulances, which are owned by the sheriff’s office, will have two officers on board.

“This program will give residents additional access to emergency services and also put more sheriff’s office assets out into our municipalities,” Sheriff Richard Berdnik said. “The long-term plan for the program, as current officers retire, is to bring on EMT students who are looking for careers in the field.”

The program runs five days a week and is no charge to county residents.

“The PCSO EMS Division is assisting towns primarily with volunteer-based agencies and will assist any municipality in need,” said Bill Maer, Passaic County Sheriff's Office spokesperson.

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