SOUTH PARIS — Oxford County commissioners heard Tuesday that some local towing operators are feeling neglected because they are not being assigned what they feel is their share of accident calls.

Deputy Director of Communications Geff Inman told commissioners, “We don’t have control of the wreckers, we don’t have control of who calls them, and we don’t have control of the requests. Our people are doing their very best to go by the rotations that they have, and we are well aware that there are financial implications to the wrecker services.”

Inman said Maine State Police and officers from individual departments often make requests for wreckers that never pass through the dispatch center.

“If an officer calls a wrecker that’s out of rotation and we don’t note it, and we send the same wrecker to another call, that happens because the officer didn’t give the information,” Inman said.

Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole said, “You’re being blamed for something that’s out of your control.”

“Every wrecker request that comes through dispatch is recorded,” Inman said, “and we can produce that file, but as far as an officer calling on a cellphone, or somebody calling personally, we can’t (track it.) If somebody’s doing a real good job at advertising their wrecker service, and they get a lot of calls, so be it.”


Inman estimated that 99 percent of the local wrecker dispatch requests are made directly by customer request.

Inman said the situation becomes more complicated because of numerous geographical divisions within the county.

“We can set up one zone, and rotate in that zone, but the computer isn’t capable of doing all the different zones,” Inman said. “Then we may get out of rotation, and it’s very difficult. I talk to our people and they say, ‘We go by our list as close as we possibly can.’ Rumford has a different rotation than Fryeburg. It’s hard for us to keep track of every wrecker call for everything that happens.”

The owner of one local wrecker company, who chose to remain anonymous, provided insight into the financial attraction to work accident locations. 

“The guys are complaining because they’re not getting accident calls,” the owner said. “If we get an after-hours call, we’ll charge around $150 for that. It might be $65 for cleaning up the scene.

“What everybody wants — and me, too — is when it comes back to your shop and the vehicle sits there until the insurance company gets here to look at it, you’re getting paid $45 to $55 per day (for storage.) Or we get the call to tow it to Bessey’s or Goodwin’s, or to Auburn, and you usually end up getting that out of it, too.


“So there’s more money in that type of call than us just going out and towing a customer’s car,” the owner said. “That’s why everybody wants those calls.”

The only tow truck operator who agreed to speak on the record was Jordan Russell, owner of Russell and Sons Towing and Recovery in Norway.

“I feel as though I’m being treated very fairly (by county dispatch,)” Russell said, “and I don’t say that to imply that I get more than the others. As a business owner, you get out of your business what you put into it. There are weeks where we don’t get one call, and another towing company gets all of them in the area. Weeks will go by and we don’t get a call, and one week we’ll get 10 of them.”

The commissioners and the dispatch center said they would continue studying the issue with input from towing company operators.

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