By C.J. Carnacchio
Oxford Twp. Communications and Grants Manager
OXFORD TWP. – Oxford Township Oakland County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Dougherty was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by North Oakland Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 334.
“This means a lot,” Dougherty said. “I’ve always loved Oxford and working for its people. I’ve always tried to do my best. It’s just nice to know that I was appreciated out here.”
Every year, VFW Post 334 honors local first responders who “go above and beyond” when it comes to serving their community, according to Quartermaster/Adjutant Chuck Haskin.
A Lapeer native who graduated from Lapeer East High School in 2010, Dougherty entered the law enforcement field in 2014 and spent the first three years of his career with the Van Buren Police Department in Wayne County.
He joined the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) in February 2017 and spent most of his time at the Oxford Township substation. In September 2022, Dougherty was promoted to the rank of sergeant and assigned to the county jail. He will transfer to the Rochester Hills substation next week. “Starting Oct. 7, I’ll be one of the shift sergeants out there,” he said.
Before leaving Oxford Township, Dougherty effected 44 misdemeanor arrests, seven felony arrests and 21 alcohol/drug-related arrests in 2022.
Dougherty was nominated for the VFW award by Sheriff’s Sgt. Ric Meza, second-in-command at the Oxford Township substation.
“Sgt. Dougherty has showed outstanding initiative and teamwork in his time here,” said Meza, adding his “dedication and commitment to public safety” shows “why he is do deserving of this award.”
“We couldn’t be prouder of Sgt. Dougherty,” said Oxford Twp. Supervisor Jack Curtis. “His work ethic and his passion for helping others are second to none. He was a valuable asset in Oxford and we really hated to lose him. But we’re pleased to know that he’s continuing to help make Oakland County a safe place for residents, visitors and businesses. Congratulations on your award, Sgt. Dougherty. It’s certainly well deserved. We wish you nothing but the best.”
This is the second award that Sgt. Dougherty has earned from a local veterans service organization. In June 2022, he received the Deputy of the Year award from American Legion Auxiliary Unit 108.
Helping people is Sgt. Dougherty’s favorite part of the job.
“When people call us, they need help. It’s not their best day. To know that I can make somebody’s day a little bit better or help them in their time of need – that’s what it’s really all about, at least for me,” he said.
Dougherty’s family has a proud tradition of serving in law enforcement.
“My great-grandfather was actually one of the first motorcycle officers for the state police. He went on to become the police chief for the City of Lapeer for 20-odd years,” he said. “My grandfather helped start the Lapeer Township Police Department at the same time that his brother was the police chief in Imlay City. His other brother was a member of the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office. The third brother was a police officer for the City of Lapeer and Elba Township’s constable.”
“I also have a cousin who’s a state trooper assigned to the Lapeer post,” he noted. “He’s a K9 officer there.”
Though he no longer works in Oxford, Oxford Township holds a special place in Sgt. Dougherty’s heart.
“I appreciate my time out here and I miss the community,” he said. “One day, hopefully, I’ll be able to get back here and continue serving its people.”
For more information about North Oakland VFW Post 334, call Commander Jim Hubbard at 248-496-1213. The post is in need of new members.
By C.J. Carnacchio