But many municipalities had their 2022 fees covered through federal relief. More than $50,000 of the county’s allotted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars went toward covering dispatch center fees for South Charleston, Enon, Tremont City, Catawba, North Hampton, South Vienna and Donnelsville for their use of the county’s dispatch services this year.
German Twp. Police Department chief Mike Stitzel voiced concern over the fees when the tier-pricing model was approved in November 2021, saying based on 2020 data his office would be paying $26,000 in fees.
Stizel said German Twp.’s emergency services ultimately agreed to contract with the countywide dispatch center, but his department plans on continuing its use of Champaign County for LEADS entries to cut back on costs.
“We’re going to keep our costs with Clark County at an absolute minimum,” he said.
Dispatch fees will cut into funding pools that come from property taxes and citations, and Stitzel said he fears that will impact his salary fund.
“Calls for service” handled by the dispatch center will be charged to their respective agencies: calls that result in a law enforcement officer needing to mitigate an issue. Administrative calls will not result in charges, according to Clark County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Chris Clark.
The county is footing 75% of the costs for the call center through its general fund, with village and township police agencies in the county expected to contribute roughly 25% of the cost.
Municipalities that have not contracted with the dispatch center as of this week are Tremont City, North Hampton and Donnelsville, according to Clark.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office will manage the $5 million, 7,000-square-foot dispatch center, office and training facility. The center will be located on Home Road, in the former Clark County Department of Job and Family Services Children’s Home once it opens next year.
Clark said the center is on track to open in March 2023 but has not been given a definitive date by its vendor, Motorola.
Supply chain issues caused some delay in its opening, but the dispatch center had the majority of equipment already purchased and shipped in by 2019, Clark said. Issues with AT&T and phone services caused further delay. The county is also working to merge its network infrastructure with that of the center.
The addition of printers to cars, ensuring connectivity between vehicles and the center, the set-up of workstations at the 911 center and more are to come before the center goes live, said Clark.
As of this week, Motorola is preparing certain Clark County employees as trainers for the dispatch center systems, so the trainers can then train their own personnel.
“It’s a very customizable system so that it allows us, if there’s something we don’t like, to make a change here, change there,” Clark said.
A combined dispatch center for the county has been in talks for decades, and Clark County announced in 2017 that it would build the 911 dispatch center that will allow residents to text, send pictures and videos to dispatchers.
The center will also put the county in accordance with Ohio’s Next Generation 911 requirement that calls for dispatch services to become more advanced.