March 19, 2014 - Three people who protect residents and keep them safe on a daily basis were honored Sunday by Oxford American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 108.
Oxford firefighter Carl Rose was honored as the "Most Outstanding Firefighter of the Year." File photo. (click for larger version)
Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy Brad Ostrander and Oxford Village Police Officer Clint Ascroft were each presented with "Most Outstanding Police Officer of the Year" awards, while Oxford Firefighter Carl Rose was awarded a plaque for "Most Outstanding Firefighter of the Year."
The trio was recognized as part of an overall appreciation dinner and awards ceremony held at Oxford American Legion Post 108 on E. Drahner Rd.
Members of the sheriff's office, village police department and the fire department were all presented with certificates of appreciation.
Ostrander, Ascroft and Rose were singled out for their commitment to their jobs, service to the community and repeated willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy Brad Ostrander (left) and Oxford Village Police Officer Clint Ascroft were honored by Oxford American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 108 with plaques designating each of them as the "Most Outstanding Police Officer of the Year." Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Ostrander has been with sheriff's office since 2000. Prior to that, he spent seven years working for the Oxford Police back when it was a joint township-village agency.
"He's been out here for quite a long time," said Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Patterson, commander of the Oxford Township substation. "In that time, Deputy Ostrander has relentlessly performed his duties with professionalism and outstanding dedication."
According to Patterson, Ostrander works "without complaint" and is a "team player."
"Deputy Ostrander comes to work every day with a positive attitude and a smile," he said. "He's one of the most liked and respected officers that we have."
Ostrander voluntarily takes on extra duties such as being the substation's sex offender registration investigator
"He keeps track of these offenders and obtains arrest warrants on violators when needed," Patterson said. "He works hand-in-hand with the (county) prosecutor's office to adjudicate these cases."
Speaking as his supervisor, the sergeant described Ostrander's work ethic as "second to none."
"I've counted on him over the years to help achieve our goals at the Oxford substation," Patterson said.
When it came time to pick a deputy to receive this award, Patterson said he "didn't hesitate" to pick Ostrander.
"Deputy Ostrander has proven to me and to the other officers at the Oxford substation that he is worthy of this award not only this year, but every year that he has served," he said.
Ostrander called the award "a great honor."
"I appreciate the American Legion and everything they do like putting on a function like this for us," he said.
Ostrander said he went into law enforcement because "I care about people."
"I just wanted to help and do my part in the community," he said. "Law enforcement was what I wanted to do from the beginning."
Ascroft has served with the Oxford Village Police Department since 2002 when he started as a part-timer. He soon proved his worth and was promoted to a full-time position in 2005.
His supervisor, Sgt. Mike Solwold, said he displays "excellent teamwork and professionalism" within the agency and to the public.
According to Solwold, in addition to his regular patrol duties, Ascroft serves as the department's "lead investigator," handling cases involving identify theft, check fraud, child abuse and criminal sexual conduct.
"He constantly continues to follow-up on unsolved complaints," the sergeant said.
One of the those unsolved cases is a February 2013 hit-and-run accident involving a pedestrian in downtown Oxford.
"He has dedicated numerous hours to this investigation and with his determination, the responsible persons will be brought to justice," Solwold said.
Solwold noted that Ascroft has "sharpened his skills" with regard to using technology, such as cellular phones and social media websites, to investigate crimes. He's contacted wireless providers and social networking sites to learn how information can be retrieved and the legal requirements necessary to obtain such evidence.
"His skills in these areas have solved and closed several (cases) for the department," Solwold said.
Ascroft said this award "means a lot" to him, especially because there are so many "good officers" in the village department.
"It's nice that I was thought of as being at the front of the list," he said. "Thanks for the award. It's greatly appreciated. It's nice to know that they're thinking of us as much as we're thinking of them."
Ascroft believes he was "destined" to be a police officer because when he was growing up in Berkley, all of his coaches in football, basketball and baseball were cops. That had a big influence on him.
When Oxford Fire Chief Pete Scholz asked his staff to submit nominations for the "Most Outstanding Firefighter of the Year" award, he said the unanimous choice of both full-time and paid-on-call personnel was Rose, who's been with the department since 2003.
"It was extremely refreshing to see as many nominations coming from the full-time staff as (from) the paid-on-call staff," he said. "This individual is probably what you would call the real epitome of a paid-on-call firefighter."
Rose consistently puts in extra time and effort, according to Scholz, as evidenced by the fact he's frequently the one driving the ambulance to the hospital during nighttime and weekend calls.
Whenever there's a structure fire, Rose doesn't hesitate when it comes to doing the "down and dirty work of cleaning everything out" of the building.
According to Scholz, if you tell him to move all the contents out of a burned garage, he won't "bother to get tools" to do the job, he'll dive right in like the proverbial "bull in the china shop" and "tear things up."
"He'd make sure the entire garage was moved out into the street and come back and ask what else you want him to do," he said.
Rose is also the one who decorates the fire truck for its annual appearance in Oxford's Christmas parade.
"Every year, he says, 'I'm not going to do it again,' but he's always the first one there to make sure it's done," Scholz said.
The chief noted Rose has often paid for the decorations out of his own pocket.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.