Compiled by Nancy Hammerstrom
Several Johnson County fire and police departments have expanded their efforts to better serve their community in the past year through training and hiring additional staff (including a crisis intervention team to assist those with mental illness) and adding vital equipment and upgrading facilities. As well, a local fire department remembers a paramedic for his extensive experience and education as well as his kind and caring spirit. We thank our Southside heroes for their daily commitment to safety.
Bargersville Police Department
Bargersville police have seen significant changes within their department, including the expansion of both their patrol and infrastructure. Justin Griggs, formerly a sergeant, has been promoted to assistant chief, and Officer Bradley Moore received a promotion to sergeant. As well, two full-time officers have been hired: Jessica Hester and Taeha Stieglitz. BPD plans to hire one more full-time officer in October.
The new building for the police department is now complete. “It is a modern facility with the ability to fit our staffing needs for now and in the future,” said Jeremy Roll, public information officer with BPD. “We have expanded our electric vehicle fleet to 10 Teslas which has kept us at around $60 per month in charging per vehicle. This is a $450 per month, per vehicle savings, over our traditional fleet.”
Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
Members of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office participate in many activities throughout the county while speaking with residents on how to protect themselves and remain safe. “We believe in community policing and educating people about what is occurring in Johnson County,” said Johnson County Sheriff Duane E. Burgess.
Officers receive training to help them face the stressors and rigors of police work. Deputy Hannah Greene is currently attending a 16-week mandatory training with the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.
Entertaining activities include presenting the colors during high school basketball games.
The department has a group of reserves who dedicate many hours throughout the month to assist with covering shifts and working special events throughout the year. “We are very fortunate to have several hard-working reserves on staff,” said Burgess.
Johnson County Sheriff’s Office has created a CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Division that consists of three officers or deputies that respond and assist with people who are having mental health issues. Most of the department’s deputies and other Johnson County Law Enforcement officers are certified CIT Officers.
For the department’s latest events and other important messages, go to Facebook: Johnson County Indiana Sheriff’s Office.
White River Township Fire Department
White River Township Fire Department has experienced a range of emotions this past year, from the loss of Paramedic Kyle Martincic in the line of duty to the sense of accomplishment in opening a new public safety building with the Bargersville Community Fire Department, Center Grove School Police, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Center Grove Schools. “The resiliency of the men and women on our department is a testament to their commitment to serving this community,” said Fire Chief Jeremy A. Pell.
Paramedic Kyle Martincic joined the WRTFD in 2019. “He had special way of making people smile due to his gentle spirit and incredible kindness,” said Pell. “These gifts were matched by his vast experience and education in EMS. Kyle inspired those around him to provide the best possible EMS care with a caring spirit. Kyle’s sudden passing while on duty was a shock to all of us and has left a void that will never be fully filled.”
The department has added additional equipment, training and a facility to improve response times and advance EMS services in the community. The Center Grove School Corporation’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) opened, which also serves as Fire Station 254. “The thing that makes this accomplishment so special is the partnership between WRTFD, Bargersville Community Fire Department, Center Grove School Police and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. All four agencies worked together to staff the facility just a few hundred yards from the largest Center Grove School campus,” said Pell. The facility houses a WRTFD ambulance, a BCFD ladder truck and multiple police officers. “Combining police, fire and EMS in the heart of our community on a school campus is one of the first of its kind in the nation,” Pell continued. “Everyone benefits from this mission-based collaborative approach to public safety. Not only does it make our community safer, but it is also an efficient use of taxpayer resources. A model such as this is a game-changer for responding to 911 emergencies in White River Township. Lives will be changed for the better because progressive community leaders in Johnson County supported this effort.”