Dublin Villager

Emergency services dispatching

Dublin to handle calls for Hilliard, Norwich Township

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Dublin will soon field calls for the Hilliard Police and Norwich Township Fire departments.

Dublin City Council last week approved an agreement that will have the city's police dispatching department provide services for two other entities, in addition to the service it already provides for the Washington Township Fire Department.

The move to share services is also expected to save Dublin $400,000 in 2014.

"This is the culmination of years of discussion with the city of Hilliard and Norwich Township," said Jay Somerville, bureau director for the Dublin Division of Police.

Hilliard currently serves as the public safety answering point for its police department and Norwich Township, but looking at expensive upgrades over the next few years, city officials approached Dublin about sharing services.

Dublin already answers 9-1-1 calls from cell phones in Hilliard and has upgrades Hilliard needs.

"I came to Dublin because Dublin is the model of communication services not just in the area, but the country," Hilliard Police Chief Doug Francis said.

The contract with Norwich Township is expected to start first. The Norwich Township Board of Trustees were expected to approve the agreement at a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 20. The pact would start Oct. 1.

Dublin will charge Norwich Township $106,747 for dispatching services for the remainder of 2013 and is expecting to charge the township $373,062 for 2014 service.

As Dublin begins answering calls for the Norwich Township Fire Department, it anticipates needing two more communication technicians and one additional communications supervisor for dispatching.

Once Dublin starts answering calls for Hilliard Police, another three communication technicians will be needed, the staff report to council said.

Dublin is expected to take on Hilliard's calls starting Jan. 13, 2014, and will bill the city $670,730 for services in 2014.

"It was always our intent to recover costs," Somerville said.

Future upgrades on equipment are also included in the costs, Somerville said.

Dublin Councilwoman Amy Salay voiced concerns about the capacity of dispatching services should a catastrophic event occur.

"The level of service provided to our community was never going to fall," Somerville said, noting that Dublin has a backup dispatching center set up in a Washington Township fire station and a contract with Westerville to backup after that.

Dublin has never solicited more entities to offer dispatching services to, Somerville said, but is set up to be a top-quality service provider, especially with text, video and picture emergency calls coming soon.

"I anticipate more coming to us in the next few months," Somerville said.

Dublin already provides dispatching services for Washington Township and with the addition of Hilliard, Norwich Township and possibly others, the Justice Center could need more room, Somerville said.

"We may need to renovate and expand the justice center," he said, noting other departments might need more space too.

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