Corrections Officer's Quick Actions Save Stranger's Life

     When 53-year-old Dean Peterson suffered a heart attack while driving home in early March, it could have ended his life. Unconscious, Peterson was unable to maintain control of his truck, veering off the road and into a brick wall.

     But thanks to the quick actions of Escambia County Corrections Officer William Hallford and first responders, Peterson survived and is expected to recover.

     Hallford, 31, was driving behind Peterson when his truck ran off the road, and he immediately knew something was wrong since Peterson did not brake or make any corrective actions. Having been trained in CPR during his corrections training, Hallford rushed to Peterson and immediately began administering CPR while another bystander called 911.

     “I tried to feel his pulse, and he had a very slight pulse, but he was almost gasping for air,” Hallford said.

     After a couple of minutes, Peterson’s pulse was gone. With the help of others on scene, Hallford carefully pulled Peterson out of the truck to continue CPR.

     “He didn’t have a pulse, but throughout my compressions, I was able to get a pulse again for him,” Hallford said.

     Peterson’s wife, Tina, said she can’t thank Hallford and the other first responders enough for saving her husband’s life. After the accident, Dean Peterson was in a coma and on full life support for several days, but he is now breathing on his own. Tina Peterson said her husband has a long road to recovery ahead, but she and her family remain optimistic. 

     “Because of William being there, his brain still functions, and we do not anticipate any kind of neurological deficit,” Tina Peterson said. “Not only did he save his life, but he saved his quality of life.”

     Dean and Tina have four children and one grandchild, and Tina said she is grateful that her husband will be able to continue to live a full life thanks to Hallford.

     “I now consider William one of my family members, too,” she said. “I’m not only grateful to him, but I’m also grateful to the county for training him and now recognizing him for going above and beyond.”

     Hallford expressed the same sentiments about the Peterson family, and said he considers CPR a vital part of the county’s training requirements for corrections officers.

     “I just relied on what I’ve learned and was hoping that it worked, and I’m glad it did,” Hallford said. “I’m glad I met them – I feel like they’re family forever now. They’re amazing people.”

Corrections Officer William Hallford with heart attack survivor Dean Peterson.

K-9 Britt and Corrections Officer Robert Oliver competed at the Southern States Manhunt and Field Trials, placing second in the Drug Detection Division.

Rescue Dog Gets Chance to Shine

Road Prison Officer finds perfect partner at Animal Shelter

     Road Prison Officer Robert Oliver was looking for the perfect dog for Narcotic Detection Handler's School. While he was anxious to begin the training, he knew that finding the right dog was worth the wait.
     Britt, a 4-year-old German Shepherd, was picked up by Escambia County Animal Control as a stray. After being adopted from the shelter, she was returned because her adopters thought she was "too much dog."
     On Nov. 4, 2015 Oliver rescued Britt from the Escambia County Animal Shelter after spotting her during a random checkup on a work squad.
     "She stood out from the rest of the dogs," Oliver said. "We were checking on a squad and we walked through the kennels and saw her. We got a ball and took her out to a pen and threw the ball to see if she had toy drive."
     At that point, Oliver knew he had found something special in Britt.
     "We asked if we could borrow her, and I contacted the trainers from the sheriff's department," he said. "They tested her and said if we didn't want her, they did."
      Britt was tested by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office K-9 instructors and recommended for narcotic detection. On Nov. 17, 2015 Officer Oliver and K-9 Britt began Narcotic Detection Handlers’ School. After 200 hours of training, both handler and K-9 received their Certification in Narcotic Detection.
      The first week of March, the pair attended a testing seminar put on by The United States Police Canine Association. Testing was conducted on room searches as well as vehicle searches. Officer Oliver and K-9 Britt were both certified through USPCA in narcotics detection. They have since re-certified.
     As the Road Prison's only narcotics dog, K-9 Britt and Oliver have made numerous narcotic “finds.” They routinely search the Road Prison, crew trucks and job sites where road crews are working. They also search the Work Release center and the Main Jail.
     The pair have also trained and competed at the Southern States Manhunt and Field Trials. In 2016, just after becoming certified, they took fourth place out of nearly 20 teams in the Drug Detection Division. This year they fared even better, winning second place out of 14 teams.
     "I've had several other institutions ask me to keep an eye out for a dog at the pound," Oliver said. "We've even connected a few dogs."
     While Oliver's demeanor is stoic, he recognizes how lucky a find K-9 Britt was.
     "She's a great dog," Oliver said. "She's loveable, she's wired up. She checks on you all the time. If you move she thinks you want to go throw the ball."

Columbian Visitors welcomed by Staff

    Escambia County’s Extension Services and Development Services departments hosted visitors from Colombia in February as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, which teaches participants about sustainable rural development, land use laws and procedures, effective ways to bring products to market and more. The Extension Services Department took the Colombian guests on a tour of the Extension Office and 4-H Langley Bell Center, ending the day at Steve’s Farm in Walnut Hill. Development Services Department staff took the group on a tour of the county’s Central Office Complex, including the low-impact design green roof.

Visitors from Colombia take a photo at Steve's Farm in Walnut Hill in February. Their visit was part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Want to Go?

  • WHAT: Escambia Cares Community Resource Expo
  • DATE: Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017
  • TIME: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • LOCATION: Brownsville Community Center, 3200 W. DeSoto St.

NHS Links

Road Prison "Family" Gives Sergeant with Cancer Meaningful Gift

     When Escambia County Road Prison Sgt. Delton Boswell’s colon cancer came back in June 2016, his team of officers knew they wanted to do something big to show their boss just how much he means to them.

     Boswell, who has been working for the county for nearly 32 years, was diagnosed with cancer in March 2015. When it returned last June and put him back in the hospital for another surgery, his crew of road prison officers quickly put their heads together and came up with the perfect surprise for Boswell, who has a longtime love of fixing up cars.

     Boswell had been working on his 1956 Ford Crown Victoria for years, but between cancer treatment and work, he hadn’t been able to finish the repairs the car needed to run. While he was in the hospital, Boswell’s crew decided to finish the job for him.

     They pooled together their money, assigned each other tasks and completed the work in a day, which included a new exhaust, gas tank, carburetor, seats and engine installation.

     Road Prison Officer Patrick McGlothren kept the car in his garage, letting Boswell’s wife in on the surprise so she could keep him away until the big reveal. When the car was ready, she took him to McGlothren’s house under the guise of a trip to the movies – but Boswell was instead presented with his fully-functional Crown Victoria.

     “The shop door came open and they come driving my car out,” Boswell said. “It was very, very emotional. Very emotional. I don’t think there was a dry eye around the car at all, with these big ol’ grown men who tote guns for a living – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.”

     Boswell said he was overwhelmed by the gesture.

     “I was extremely touched by it,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of stuff like that for other people – never in my life did I think anything like that would ever happen to me.”

     Officer McGlothren has known Boswell for years, initially working for his dad in the Escambia County Fleet Maintenance Division before moving to the Road Prison. McGlothren said he and the other officers feel lucky to have Boswell as their supervisor, and they were happy to be able to finish his car as a token of their appreciation.

     “He treats us like we’re family,” McGlothren said. “And that’s the way our whole team is.”

     Presenting Boswell with his ready-to-drive antique car was worth every bit of hard work it took the crew to finish it, McGlothren said. 

     “After it was done and he got there, it was awesome,” McGlothren said. “I would have never dreamed it would have been such a touching moment. It was special. When we got done there picture taking and hugging and all that, we had a word of prayer for healing, and that was what made it.”

     Both Boswell and McGlothren said this isn’t an isolated incident, and the whole Road Prison team is always ready to step up and help their fellow employees and those in need in the community.

     “We’re in a true sense a family,” Boswell said. “We jump in and try to help any time something like this happens with a family, with one of our guys. We try to help each other.”

Officers and staff from the Escambia County Road Prison pose with former Sgt. Delton Boswell and his 1956 Ford Crown Victoria.