GREENVILLE — Darke County’s 9-1-1 Planning Committee voted 2 to 1 to approve an amended final plan for the county’s 9-1-1 system.
The county’s first 9-1-1 plan was written in 1990, and was revised again in 2005 and 2006.
In April, the committee voted 2 to 1 to approve a plan for the county to go with a single PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point), the answering system for the 9-1-1 service, a move recommended by the Darke County Board of Commissioners. Committee member Steve Willman, Greenville’s mayor, voted “no” on both measures. The committee’s two other members, Darke County Commissioner Mike Rhoades and Greenville Township Trustee Matt Kolb, both voted in the affirmative.
The vote came on the heels of a decision by the City of Greenville to maintain and fund its own emergency dispatch system, including plans to purchase updated equipment. A county proposal to fund and operate a unified emergency dispatch was rejected.
Currently, the city’s dispatch receives landline calls only, with cellphone calls redirected to it by the county. However, under the new county system, all emergency calls within the county — whether cell or landline — will first go through the county dispatch. Calls in which Greenville Police and Fire services are needed will be transferred to Greenville’s dispatch from the county, who will then dispatch those units. Calls for other emergency agencies within the county will be dispatched directly from the county’s dispatch center to those agencies.
“All 9-1-1 calls, any 9-1-1 calls, whether its in city limits, will now first go through our answering system,” said Rhoades.
“If we determine that it’s a police or fire call in the City of Greenville, we will transfer that call to Greenville,” said Darke County 9-1-1 Coordinator Melissa Hawes.
The county is still in the process of determining which vendor will provide the county’s new dispatch equipment.
“We’ve had some quotes from a couple of different companies,” said Hawes. “We’re still looking into what’s the easiest to use for dispatchers, what’s most efficient, what’s cost effective.”
Darke County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker said quality of service and support are the primary objectives when the county selects its vendor.
“We want great support and great service,” he said. “If something goes wrong, we want instantaneous service to fix those things as soon as possible.”
Once a vendor is decided, the dispatchers will undergo 16 weeks of training on the new system. Rhoades said the hope is that all components will be in place and operational after the first of the year.
Willman explained his decision to vote against the final plan, saying he didn’t feel the need to be confined to one PSAP system.
“The city, we think we can handle our own stuff a lot better than what the county can do, because we know everything, know the territory, know the people, so that’s the biggest reason,” he said.