April 23, 2014 - As of Monday, April 21, all of Oxford's fire and emergency medical calls are now being handled by the Oakland County Sheriff's dispatch center in Pontiac as opposed to the Oxford Village Police Dispatch Center.
"I'd say everything dealing with the Oakland County Sheriff's dispatch (center) went rather smoothly," said Oxford Fire Chief Pete Scholz. "They had extra staff on duty on their end. They brought in people on overtime . . . just to make sure everything was covered."
Scholz said the county dispatchers have been "very professional" and they've "implemented immediately" any suggestions from the fire department.
"It's been very good," he said.
Mel Maier, director of communications for the county, agreed the transition has gone well.
"It's been great," he said. "Working with Chief Scholz has been fantastic. He's made adjustments to the central dispatch model. We've been making adjustments (as) we're learning more about the Oxford Fire Department and the way they do business. They're very community-oriented and go out on a lot of calls."
Maier noted Oxford firefighters are "very quick" to respond when they're called on the radio. "They're a notch up on that from other departments," he said.
All of the township's 9-1-1 calls for police, fire and emergency medical services are now being answered by county.
"We're really able to bring it all together and get police, fire and EMS (personnel) simultaneously dispatched and arriving very quickly," Maier said. "We think it's more efficient."
All 9-1-1 calls originating in the village are still being answered by the village police dispatch center, however, if they're related to fire or emergency medical services, they're immediately transferred to the county for dispatching.
The only calls the village center is dispatching are those for its police department and the Lake Orion Village Police.
Maier noted when there is a fire or emergency medical call in the village, county coordinates with village police to ensure there are no delays in their response.
In those instances, he said village dispatchers stay on the line with county dispatchers to "gather the information simultaneously" from the caller, "so they can send village (police) to back up the medical and fire units."
"As long as they keep doing that, it's going to be fantastic," he said.
Non-emergency calls for the Oxford Fire Department will be answered by the county by calling (248) 858-4911.
Folks seeking burn permits are asked to please call Oxford Fire Station #1 at (248) 969-9483.
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.