By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Why Hall County Sheriff’s Office is taking over overnight calls for Oakwood Police
02132021 sheriff lights

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office will now respond to all overnight 911 calls within the Oakwood Police Department jurisdiction, as Oakwood grapples with a staffing shortage that has reduced its force by nearly half. 

“We’re experiencing a staffing shortage right now and having a bit of difficulty filling (positions),” Oakwood Police Chief Tim Hatch said. 

He said it should last only a “short period of time,” but he couldn’t provide a definitive timeline. 

Hall patrol deputies will respond to calls in the Oakwood city limits between midnight and 6 a.m. daily. 

About the reason for the staffing shortage, Hatch said, “We're competing for the same people that other agencies are competing for and they're paying a higher hourly rate.”

Hatch said the department is operating with little more than half its force. The department is down 11 people, including officers, supervisors and investigators, and needs 24 for a full staff.

“The Oakwood Police Department reached out to us for assistance and we agreed to help,” Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a news release. “While our resources have not changed at the sheriff’s office, we are making adjustments to ensure all of our citizens are protected at all times of the day or night.” 

Oakwood will not be paying the sheriff’s office for the additional patrol in the city limits, Hatch said. 

The procedure for calling for law enforcement help has not changed. Emergency calls should go to 911, while nonemergency calls should be directed to 770-536-8812. 

“We don't enter into this decision lightly with the sheriff's office, and we're very thankful for their willingness and their cooperation as we go through this time,” Hatch said. “They have their own shortages that they're dealing with. It's not an easy time for either agency right now.”