German Twp. officials have joined the Clark County emergency dispatching system — saving the township about $30,000 a year — as part of a push for a countywide service.
A report from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office indicates the township received more than 7,400 calls for service last year. German Twp. had been paying about $54,000 for its dispatching service.
The new contract with the county will cost about $24,000 annually, according to the report.
“It’s going to save the township thousands of dollars,” German Twp. Trustee Rodney Kaffenbarger said.
The township is among seven municipalities that currently use the county dispatching system for medical, fire and other emergency services.
German Twp. began using the county’s system Saturday, March 1.
Bethel, Harmony, Madison, Moorefield, Pike and Springfield townships already use the county dispatching system.
Kaffenbarger said prior to the contract with the county, the township had four dispatchers who operated inside of their homes. Two of them work with the German Twp. Fire & EMS department and will continue in those positions.
The other two have the option of applying for positions at the county dispatch center.
All of them received about six months notice that the service would be switching to the county.
“Everybody has left on good terms,” Kaffenbarger said. “There has been no hard feelings.”
The city of Springfield and New Carlisle currently operate on a separate dispatching system.
Kaffenbarger said the vote to join the county dispatching system was unanimous.
He said officials were impressed by the technology the county can provide users.
“One added benefit to this is that if you call 9-1-1, they will have the history of call to that location. Before, they didn’t have that. The system is going to alert EMS if this person is a diabetic or if there was a history of violence. It’s really going to help first responders,” Kaffenbarger said.
German Twp. residents should call 9-1-1 for all emergency calls. The local 937-969-8333 phone number that reached dispatchers will be taken out of service soon.
Most of the townships are in support of efforts to establish a county-wide 9-1-1 dispatch center that could save more than $1 million in taxpayer money.
Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes has said previously there’s support among most area leaders for the center, but officials have not yet determined the total cost of the project or how to divide up costs for the third year and beyond.
The center, if approved, could open in January 2015.
Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly praised German Twp. officials for joining the county dispatch center.
Kelly said he hopes other municipalities operating their own dispatching center join the county.
“When all departments are in the same locations, it helps improve service,” Kelly said.
Clark County spends $1.5 million and the city of Springfield spends $1.4 million per year on separate 9-1-1 dispatch centers.
Clark County has 16 full-time staffers and five part-timers and receives more than 77,000 calls annually, while Springfield has 21 employees and receives more than 60,000 calls per year.
The preferred location for a combined dispatch is the former U.S. Army Downs Reserve Center, 1515 W. High St., now known as the Safety Services Center, Springfield City Manager Jim Bodenmiller has said.
Pike Twp. recently voted to eliminate operating it’s own dispatching service that cost about $60,000 a year and signed a one-year contract to join the current county dispatch system. The move will save the township about $40,000.
Pike Twp. Trustee President Greg Kaffenbarger said earlier this year that trustees signed a letter of support for the county-wide dispatch center in November.
“It makes sense to unify everything and put everything in one spot,” Greg Kaffenbarger said.
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has reported for several months on proposals to create a a combined 9-1-1 dispatch center for Springfield, Clark County and township governments and will continue to follow developments in the story.