Delaware County Sheriff Walter L. Davis II and Bob Greenlaw, director of the county's 911 operations, say they expect progress and challenges in 2010.

Delaware County Sheriff Walter L. Davis II and Bob Greenlaw, director of the county's 911 operations, say they expect progress and challenges in 2010.

Early in the year, the county will begin improvements at the county jail that will increase capacity by nearly 100 prisoners. That will allow Davis to continue contracts with the U.S. Marshal's Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for housing nonviolent offenders at the jail.

The sheriff's office will launch "Project Lifesaver" in 2010, a program that provides people with diseases such as Alzheimer's and autism a wrist or ankle transmitter, so they can be found if they wander off.

Grants will allow the sheriff's office to buy dashboard cameras for cruisers, plus tasers and replacement computer servers.

Davis said his office "sought a number of opportunities for grant funding. ... It is a competitive process. When we are successful, it helps keep our costs under control while providing our same high level of service to the citizens of Delaware County."

On the other side of the coin, county budget constraints coupled with growing crime statistics will stretch the department's resources, Davis said.

"Our population continues to grow. Sadly, more people mean more crime," Davis said. "Also, the economy is still struggling. Typically, when the economy gets worse, so does crime. This is exactly what we are seeing in Delaware County."

For example, from 2007 to 2009, thefts increased 71 percent, with 375 thefts reported in 2009, Davis said.

"Crime can escalate," he said. "It does not take much for those thieves to turn to burglary, then armed robbery. The more serious the crime, the more lives are potentially at risk. We must have the resources to take a proactive approach and stop crime before it escalates.

Protecting lives, homes and businesses must always come first."

At the county's emergency communications center, Greenlaw is preparing for the consolidation of the county and city's 911 systems. The move will place dispatching for law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services under one roof.

"I am highly enthusiastic about the outlook for 2010 in Delaware emergency communications," Greenlaw said.

The changes will include an upgraded training program and plans for extensive quality control.

Greenlaw plans to seek accreditation for the system.

"This will provide out-of-state peer review of everything we do and assure our citizens they are getting the best possible service from the monies they pay into the 911 levy and telephone surcharge," he said. "We also plan on upgrading our back-up dispatch facilities which, as we consolidate operations into one location, become all the more critical. We are currently in the process of hiring new staff to fill several vacancies and by next summer look forward to having a fully staffed operation as they complete their training period."

Greenlaw plans to attend various events and speak to groups, as well as give 911 center tours throughout the year.

"Our goal is to provide the best public safety dispatching services available in Ohio by implementing our mission statement, 'provide a high quality gateway to public safety through technology and teamwork,'" he said.