Flashback: Hudson Valley Police Cars Also Served as Ambulances
In the not-so-distant past, if you were involved in a medical emergency in the Hudson Valley the police would likely be the ones to bring you to the hospital.
Today if you call 911, a collection of local agencies will respond. Police cars, fire trucks and ambulances will appear at the scene ready to tackle whatever the emergency may be. This life-saving approach to critical situations is something we take for granted now, but a few decades ago things were very different.
People who have recently moved to the area may be shocked to learn that 911 services have only been around in Dutchess County for about 20 years. Before 1999 it was necessary to have the phone numbers for local police, fire and ambulance service posted next to your phone. In case of emergency, it would be your responsibility to find the right number and call for help.
Even earlier than that, in the 1960s, Dutchess County police officers worked double-duty as ambulance drivers. In the mid-1900s, ambulances corps and EMS services weren't as widespread as they are now, so local municipalities across the country would purchase their own transport vehicles to assist in getting citizens emergency hospital services.
The Dutchess County Sheriff's Office recently shared a photo from their archives that shows one of these old police/ambulance vehicles.
The image also depicts an old Dutchess County Sheriff's Office bus, which likely served as a sort of "paddy wagon." Similar busses were seen throughout the decade being brought to mass protests and other crowd-control situations to round up "agitators."
Are you old enough to remember these emergency vehicles from the past? If so, we'd love to hear about it. Share your memories in the comments section below or on our Facebook Page.