COSHOCTON, OH (WCMH) – The longest serving deputy in Ohio is celebrating 58 and a half years in law enforcement.
Coshocton County Auxiliary Deputy Royce Emerson just turned 80 years old last week. He said a lot has changed since he joined the Sheriff’s Office back on April 1st 1959, but one thing that’s stayed the same is his unwavering dedication to serving his community.
“A lot of times, I’ve been around so long they think I’m the Sheriff. I say, ‘No, I’m not the sheriff,'” he said with a chuckle.
The 11 stars on his chest represent his many years of dedicated service.
“Five years of service, each one of them. If I’m in it two more years, I’ll get another one,” said Deputy Emerson.
Nearly 6 decades as an officer is often unheard of in law enforcement.
“We’re very proud of him,” said Sheriff Tim Rogers. “He stays very active. He’s physically fit and he stays very sharp on the firing range. He takes all of his certification classes.”
Deputy Emerson said he eats right, never drinks or smokes and works out three times a week with his wife.
He said it’s the people here that also keep him going.
“They’re good about calling me about things. Some nights they call me at 2 o’clock in the morning and I’ll come out. I like to help people,” he said. “The Sheriff and my lieutenants, they’re very good to me and I try to be good to them.”
Deputy Emerson often leads the parades in town and once helped a man who almost took his life.
“He came up to me and patted me on the back and he said, ‘You saved my life’ and that made me feel good,” he said. “I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget it.”
Lt. Dean Hettinger said he looks up to him in many ways.
“His dedication to our community and our Sheriff’s Office is just simply profound,” said Lt. Hettinger. “Let me tell you, he is a fantastic shot. At 80 years old, he still drives tax.”
Deputy Emerson said he doesn’t have any plans for retirement just yet and hopes to keep going as long as he can.