Bob Greenlaw is working hard to make March 30 a "seamless" day in Delaware County.

Bob Greenlaw is working hard to make March 30 a "seamless" day in Delaware County.

That is the day earmarked as the first time county and city dispatchers, sitting side-by-side, will field emergency calls from around the county through the consolidation of the two departments.

Consolidation will reduce duplication of services and reduce costs for county and city residents and businesses, say city and county officials.

The consolidation of the city and county's 911 dispatch services is something that has been discussed for almost 20 years. After the last failed attempt in 2008 both sides agreed to appoint a governing board that included representation from the city and county government, fire, police and emergency leaders from around the county, and elected officials. Delaware city manager Tom Homan is board chairman.

The county commission hired a 911 director in September 2008 but he left after a few weeks, citing differences with county administration and internal problems within the department. The board spent several months deciding what kind of person it needed to finally move consolidation forward and conducted a national search, hiring Greenlaw last August.

Greenlaw brought with him more than 40 years at experience in public safety. Most recently he oversaw the consolidation of police, sheriff, fire and EMS communications for all the municipalities in Blaine County, Idaho. Before that, he brought together the communication departments of 17 municipalities in New Jersey.

"He's been a godsend and the reason we are this far along," said Delaware County administrator Dave Cannon.

Homan echoed those comments during a tour of the 911 call center with city council members last week.

"We knew if we got the 911 board in place and the right person to lead the effort we would be able to do this. He's going to get us there," Homan said.

The 911 call center is located in the basement of the county commission building at 101 N. Sandusky St. Previously, all 911 police, fire and EMS calls placed from a landline located within the city go to city dispatchers located in the police station. All other 911 calls placed from landlines within Delaware County as well as all wireless 911 calls have gone to the county's 911 call center, Cannon said.

If a call falls under the sheriff's jurisdiction or within the city limits the county dispatchers transfer the call to the appropriate dispatchers.

The county also dispatches calls for the Powell police department while the sheriff handles calls for the Sunbury and Genoa police departments.

Consolidation will accelerate the handling of calls countywide because all dispatchers will be in the same room, Greenlaw said.

In preparation for the move, the county is updating the phone system and installing new state-of-the-art equipment for all county and city dispatchers. The new department has a new name, DelCom, a new logo and new uniforms.

At first, city dispatchers will continue to field city law enforcement calls, which make up the bulk of the calls they now handle. Soon all will be cross-trained to handle any call that comes in, Greenlaw said.

Dispatchers also will receive training on priority dispatching which will allow them not only to assess and dispatch the calls, but to help the caller begin the treatment or rescue process until paramedics, law enforcement personnel or fire fighters can get to the scene.

Greenlaw intends to seek national accreditation as well as the CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) public safety communications accreditation program, a rigorous program that ensures that those who successfully complete it meet professionally recognized criteria for excellence in management and service delivery.

As far as March 30 is concerned, Greenlaw's goal is that the transition to one dispatch system be as "seamless" as someone switching from one radio station to another.