The 1996 Ford Bronco: A Reliable Partner in Law Enforcement and Rescue Operations

The 1996 Ford Bronco: A Reliable Partner in Law Enforcement and Rescue Operations

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I would like to start this blog by personally thanking Douglas Howell-Callen for sharing this story and photos of his dads time serving as a sheriffs deputy in rural Idaho using an OBS Bronco.

This blog delves into the practical use of a 1996 Ford Bronco in law enforcement and rescue operations while used by Sam Callen an deputy of the Custer County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) from 1996 to 1999.


Officer’s Background:

Officer Callen's career in law enforcement spanned from 1989 to 2001, with a significant portion spent in Custer County a small sheriffs office in rural Idaho. Here, he found his work most fulfilling, especially during his tenure with the CCSO.


The Ford Bronco as a Patrol Vehicle:

The 1993 Ford Bronco was not only a preferred patrol vehicle but also a favorite of the Officer Callen. Its robust design and adaptability made it suitable for the diverse tasks and challenges faced in law enforcement and range patrol in the Northwestern United States.


Duties and Collaborations:

In his role, the Officer Callen was tasked with range patrol, often working in collaboration with Fish and Game, BLM Law Enforcement, and Forest Service Law Enforcement. This work included protecting historical sites like the ghost towns of Bay Horse and Custer as well as search and rescue missions in remote and uninhabited regions of Idaho.  


Adaptations for Rescue Operations:

The Bronco was frequently used in backcountry rescue operations. To facilitate these missions, the back seats were removed to accommodate a backboard and first responders, enabling access to remote and challenging locations. It was also equipped with a lightbar, siren, and search lights which are typical equipment for emergency vehicles.


Vehicle Modifications for Reliability:

Remarkably the only modifications the Bronco needed was to be converted to manual locking hubs. This modification was crucial in enhancing the vehicle's reliability, particularly in demanding rescue scenarios. Otherwise, it was more than capable of handling the backcountries of Idaho. 




The 1996 Ford Bronco served as a reliable and versatile vehicle in the CCSO, showcasing its importance in law enforcement and rescue operations in Custer County. The officer's experiences highlight the Bronco's role as a crucial tool in his wide-ranging duties, from patrol to complex rescue missions.



Unfortunately there arent many surviving photos of the bronco all we have are 4 that were taken when on a Forest Service assist call where it got caught in a washout.