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Deputies, city get reacquainted

Sgt. Paul Bidinger, left, and Sgt. Darrin Ofiara, Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies, organize police coverage of Sunday’s Taste of Clarkston. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)
September 29, 2010 - Clarkston's police protection is under new management, but service remains the same, officials say.

"I would encourage anybody in the public to not ever hesitate to call us," said Oakland County Sheriff Lt. Dale LaBair, commander of Independence Township Substation. "We're more than happy to respond."

Callers reach the same county dispatch office as before, when Clarkston Police officers were on duty.

"The people you're talking to are the very same people you've talked to all along," LaBair said.

Deputies stationed at the Citation Road substation took over patrol of Clarkston four weeks ago, after Clarkston Police Department was disbanded.

"By and large it's gone pretty well," LaBair said. "Frankly, it was not an overwhelming vote. We thought there might be some sensitivity from people who might be a little ruffled by it."

Independence Township deputies patrolled Clarkston before it became a city, but that was in 1992 – lots of relearning is needed, he said.

"I've given a mandate to get out there and learn the town," he said. "I don't want them fumbling around if a call comes up. I want the people in the city to know us, to know exactly who they're dealing with. We've made a point to stress that very hard."

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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