Hilliard Northwest News

Local fire, police calls

Deal moves emergency dispatching to Dublin

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The Hilliard Division of Police and Norwich Township Fire Department are poised to transfer emergency-services dispatching to the Dublin Division of Police.

A reduction -- and eventual elimination -- of the Hilliard police dispatching staff would follow, local officials said.

Norwich Township Fire Chief Bob Kaufman and Hilliard Police Chief Doug Francis updated trustees Aug. 6 on negotiations for Dublin to provide dispatching.

Dublin City Council on Aug. 12 approved contracts with Hilliard and Norwich Township.

Hilliard City Council is expected to introduce legislation approving the contract at its Aug. 26 meeting.

The legislation would be scheduled for a second reading Sept. 9 and a third and final reading Sept. 26, according to City Council clerk Lynne Fasone.

Norwich Township trustees are expected to approve legislation authorizing the contract Aug. 20, Trustee Larry Earman said.

Norwich Township will begin using Dublin dispatching Oct. 1 for fire and EMS calls and will pay $106,747 for the remainder of 2013.

Hilliard will continue dispatching police calls until Jan. 13, when Dublin will take over.

Next year, Dublin officials anticipate charging Norwich Township $373,062 for dispatching services and Hilliard $670,739.

Currently, Hilliard provides emergency-dispatching services for the Norwich Township Fire Department, as well as its own police dispatching.

Kaufman said Dublin's status as one of five primary public-safety answering points, or PSAPs, in Franklin County is a significant reason for the planned switch.

Dublin's equipment can triangulate and pinpoint the location of 911 calls placed from cellphones.

About 70 percent of all 911 calls are placed from cellphones, Francis said, and the number continues to increase.

All 911 calls placed from a cellphone automatically are routed to the nearest primary PSAP, which is in Dublin for calls placed in the Hilliard area.

A dispatcher at the PSAP in Dublin reroutes calls to the appropriate fire department.

The transfer is only a matter of seconds, yet those seconds can be a matter of life or death, Kaufman said.

By contracting with Dublin, no transfers of cellphone calls from the Dublin PSAP to Hilliard police would occur, Kaufman said.

The Hilliard police department would continue to receive landline calls at its secondary PSAP until January. Secondary PSAPs cannot triangulate cellphone calls and must rely on the caller to report an accurate location.

Secondary PSAPs are closing as state funding is withdrawn in favor of primary PSAPs, Francis said.

The change would result in the loss of jobs among dispatchers at the Hilliard Division of Police.

The department is authorized to have 11 full-time dispatchers, but that number has been reduced to seven through retirement and attrition. Among those seven, three already have found other employment.

"We've been open with everyone," Francis said.

The department will use part-time dispatchers and overtime to maintain necessary staffing levels through Sept. 30, Francis said.

 

Department earns service award

In other activity at the Aug. 6 trustees meeting, Assistant Chief Jeff Warren announced that the Norwich Township Fire Department was the recipient of the 2013 Award of Meritorious Service from the Ohio Fire and Emergency Services Foundation.

Each year, the foundation recognizes one legislator, one fire chief and one department for its efforts in supporting education and training in the fire and emergency training.

Warren represented Norwich Township at the July 23 conference in Sharonville. The foundation recognized the department for numerous training and seminars Norwich Township hosts for fire supervisors throughout Ohio at the department's new Joint Safety Services Building, 5171 Northwest Parkway.

 

Security upgrades considered

Township Administrator Kate Cavanaugh advised trustees that the administration is obtaining bids to increase security for the township's administrative offices, including bulletproof windows and key-card entries for interior doors.

"It's a different world we live in now," Francis said.

Francis alluded to infrequent circumstances when people at the building on police business have wandered to the other side of the Joint Safety Services Building, where the township's administrative offices lack the same security.

"I want us to explore our options," said Trustee Tim Roberts, referencing a man who fatally shot three people Aug. 5 at a Ross Township office, about 75 miles north of Philadelphia.

The shooting reportedly stemmed from a lengthy zoning dispute between the man and township officials.

 

Contract awarded for flagpole work

In formal actions, Norwich trustees accepted a bid of $22,550 from 9 Trees, a landscaping company, to landscape and make other improvements at the flagpoles in front of the Joint Safety Services Building.

One of the flagpoles was salvaged from the site of the World Trade Center buildings destroyed in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City.

The township likely will sell pavers to offset the cost of the project, designed to improve and highlight the flagpole and its significance, Cavanaugh said.

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