Just In

U.S. Marshals, sheriffs chase Clark County man through chicken coop

Clark County to move 9-1-1 dispatchers, could become combined center


Clark County will move its emergency 9-1-1 dispatchers to the Springview Government Center, which could house a countywide dispatch center in the future, county officials said

The county began accepting requests for proposals last week for a consultant who will oversee the creation of a countywide 9-1-1 dispatch center at Springview at 3130 E. Main St., Clark County Administrator Jenny Hutchinson said.

RELATED: Clark County plan includes combined 9-1-1 dispatch, modernized fairgrounds

The county currently spends about $1.4 million and the city about $1.5 million annually to operate separate 9-1-1 centers. The project has been discussed for years, but has been delayed largely due to disagreements over cost and control.

Leaders have said operations will improve if all jurisdictions are on the same system. It will also allow for 9-1-1 calls to come to one location. Currently 9-1-1 calls go to different dispatchers based on where callers are located and what type of phone they’re using, which can lead to delays in response times as calls are transferred.

The county has discussed moving its dispatchers out of the Clark County Jail building to Springview for several years to provide more space, County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said.

“There’s no sense to upgrading in place,” Lohnes said.

MORE: Clark County, Springfield still mulling combined dispatch center

More than 15 consultants have already requested information to bid on the proposal, Hutchinson said. It’s unclear how much the consultant will cost as there are currently no cost estimates, she said. The requests are due Sept. 29 and a vendor will likely be selected by mid-October.

A 9-1-1 center planning committee met for the first time last week, Lohnes said.

“We’re working positively,” Lohnes said. “The first meeting was very good. The time is right for this happen. I’m very positive.”

The members include representatives from the three largest political entities, including Lohnes, City Manager Jim Bodenmiller and Bethel Twp. Trustee Nancy Brown. The committee has always existed, but hasn’t been active during his time on the county commission, Lohnes said.

The committee must approve any plan for a combined dispatch center, he said.

Bodenmiller couldn’t be reached for comment. Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland hasn’t been a part of any recent discussions, he said, but is hopeful the combined dispatch center will come to fruition.

“It’s something we’d like to see happen,” Copeland said.

The 9-1-1 Technical Advisory committee has also been meeting regularly, Lohnes said. Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett likely will oversee the countywide dispatch center, he said, and an operations management committee might be created to figure out operating procedures, including input from the city.

“It will take a little different complexion,” Lohnes said. “It will be even more important and more involved as we press on toward the joint dispatch.”

The committee will be included in selecting a consultant, who will drive the next plan moving forward, Lohnes said.

RELATED: Clark County: Building Department merger would save money

“The consultant will not just give us information, they will manage or supervise the move, setting it up,” he said.

The county and city must both implement a new system to comply with Next Generation 9-1-1 requirements by 2020, Lohnes said.

The facility at Springview — located at the current workout facility on the first floor — will be large enough to house the dispatch center with upgraded equipment, Lohnes said. The move could start in early 2018, he said, but that will be dictated by the consultant.

SOCIAL MEDIA: FOLLOW REPORTER MICHAEL COOPER ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.

Eight of the 10 townships contract with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office for dispatching services. The city of New Carlisle contracts with Springfield.

The city and county have held discussions about creating a countywide 9-1-1 dispatch center off and on for about 15 to 20 years. In 2013, after the city purchased the former U.S. Army Reserve military complex at 1515 W. High St., discussions picked back up, but no agreements have been put in place since that time.

A consulting firm report indicated the city and the county would have to spend between $2.9 million and $3.5 million on new equipment and millions more to renovate the facility on High Street.

The plan initially called for the city, county and townships to create a council of governments, which would give equal voting rights to all entities. Champaign County used a similar process when it created its countywide dispatch in 2006. Montgomery and Miami counties also have countywide dispatch centers.

However, Lohnes told the Springfield News-Sun earlier this year he prefers contracting out the service to one entity, rather than creating another layer of government.

MORE LOCAL STORIES:Read the latest news from Michael Cooper

Funding models for the dispatch center are still being discussed, Lohnes said.

Both a resident-led group and an independent consultant recommended examining combined dispatching services to save money after completing audits of the Springfield’s budget last year.

The two dispatch centers have about 35 full-time employees and field about 150,000 calls annually.

TIMELINE

July 2013: Unified dispatch center plan moves forward

September 2013: Casino money might help pay for combined dispatch

March 2014: County dispatch to save German Twp. $30K

May 2014: Unified dispatch center technology to cost millions

September 2015: Combined 9-1-1 system on hold for Springfield, Clark County

June 2016: Report urges Springfield, county to look at merged government options

September 2016: New Clark County 11 system will soon allow emergency texts

August 2016: State Auditor: Clark County could be test case for shared services

January of 2017: Clark County, Springfield still mulling combined dispatch center



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Would you ride in a car with a brain?
Would you ride in a car with a brain?

What makes a smart car so smart? For starters, a computer “brain.” Artificial intelligence and machine learning allow smart cars to make decisions for drivers and are the key to development of the fully autonomous vehicles that experts say are the future of transportation. It will likely be a few decades before fully autonomous cars are...
Cottrel: Here’s your chance to weigh in on the future of Clark County
Cottrel: Here’s your chance to weigh in on the future of Clark County

Speaking of communication, which was the subject of my column last week, this coming week is full of some golden opportunities for us to contribute our two cents. Big things are happening in our end of the county and residents need to have input. On Wednesday, Sept. 20, another Community Choices Workshop will be held by Connect Clark County. This session...
Silicon Valley fighting Portman’s efforts to end sex trafficking
Silicon Valley fighting Portman’s efforts to end sex trafficking

Sen. Rob Portman’s fight to keep websites from selling children and women online for sex is being met with resistance by Silicon Valley. Portman, R–Ohio, who along with a small group of senators has waged a years-long battle against Backpage, a classified site infamous for being the leading online market to purchase children for sex, is...
Trump speaks to U.N. saying some portions of world are ‘going to hell’
Trump speaks to U.N. saying some portions of world are ‘going to hell’

STORYLINE:   President Donald Trump delivered his first address to the United Nations General Assembly. In a more than 40 minute speech, the President delivered some tough talk for North Korea and Iran.  President Trump said major portions of the world are in conflict and some are "going to hell."  He said the United Nations...
Ohio Supreme Court to decide on new abortion laws
Ohio Supreme Court to decide on new abortion laws

By all accounts, abortion opponents have been racking up win after win in the Ohio Statehouse over the last six years, making it more difficult for women to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Now the Ohio Supreme Court could cement or unravel those wins, depending on how it decides two pending legal challenges. The high court heard arguments on Capital...
More Stories