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Grafton 911 calls now routed through Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office

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OZAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office now fields 911 calls from Grafton.

As of this week, no 911 calls go to the Grafton Police Department and some residents say they're unhappy with the change.

The Sheriff says Grafton is not the first community to route their calls through the county.

"Some years ago, Port Washington had dispatch, moved their services to the Sheriff. That was under former administration. Saukville decided to have the Sheriff's Office do it," said Sheriff James Johnson.

That decision was made in April. The Village Board voted to retire the dispatch center within the police department. They heard from many people opposing the move before it passed 5-2.

"I was highly opposed to the transfer because the knowledge that a local dispatcher would have about the location community," said Michael Behlen.

Behlen spoke to the board on the day of the vote and still wishes they would have listened.

A Facebook page called 'Keep Grafton Dispatch' was set up. A Change.org petition also had 145 signatures.

Bob Oberst started the petition.

"I had just had a personal incident with my stepmother who was seriously ill. When I called, they wanted to go through all these questions." Oberst says he didn't agree with the dispatch system the county would use and wanted services to support local officers.

"I see all these people with back the badge signs. We're not backing them, we're taking away a vital resource to them," said Oberst.

"The transition isn't different for the community. They're receiving the same level of services they had received before," said Sheriff James Johnson. 

While the physical location changed, those with the county say not much else did.

"Adding Grafton in didn't change our protocols, it's just talking to different officers from a different department but everything pretty much stayed the same," said Joe Laurin, an Ozaukee dispatcher.

The Village Administrator says dispatchers in Grafton were offered a job at Ozaukee County Dispatch.

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