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County Announces Launch of Office of Emergency Services

Post Date:02/28/2020 9:18 AM

Durham, N.C. – Durham County Manager Wendell Davis announced today the launch of the County’s newly created Office of Emergency Services (OES). Effective March 1, 2020, the new office combines three essential public safety functions: emergency medical services, fire marshal, and emergency management. Implementing the consolidated OES Department is a priority that aligns with the County’s Strategic Plan and is an example of the County’s Managing for Results (MFR) performance measurement framework in action. The consolidated OES concept that was introduced in the County’s Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget, seeks to provide administrative and capital savings for the organization. It is also an opportunity to improve managerial and operational efficiencies by implementing a best practices emergency service model used throughout North Carolina and the nation.


The leadership team consists of OES Director Jim Groves, tasked with providing strategic leadership and management of the new department, acting Chief Paramedic Rodney Medlin will continue to manage the operations of the County’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system, Chief Emergency Manager Leslie O’Connor will continue her duties coordinating the City/County Emergency Management  program, and Chief Fire Marshal Mark Schell will continue his responsibilities for the County’s fire prevention, investigation, suppression, and education program. Together the newly formed leadership team brings over 120 years of emergency service experience to the new OES.


“We have an exceptional and dedicated leadership team that has been charged with implementing this new emergency services model for Durham County. This innovative approach will allow the County to be more strategic in resource investment and better aligned with our County’s Strategic Plan,” stated County Manager Wendell Davis.


“I have the utmost confidence in Rodney, Leslie, and Mark’s knowledge, skills, and abilities and I am honored to be part of this talented and dedicated team of professionals. It is a privilege to be trusted with preparing and caring for the wonderful Durham community that has influenced my life” shared Director Groves.  “It is my vision to develop this new Office of Emergency Services into one that our residents trust and are proud of, and one that they can depend on during their most dire time of need.”


The leadership team has been charged with full implementation of the Office of Emergency Services by the end of June 2020. For more information contact OES Director Jim Groves at or (919) 560-0660.



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