The Greenville Police and Fire Emergency Communications Operators (ECO’s) as part of the Local IAFF 1101 Firefighters Union would like to address the issue of the City of Greenville considering disbanding our dispatch. If disbanded, the city would be utilizing the Darke County Sheriff’s Office for all dispatching services.
Currently there is an ECO at the Greenville Police Department 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This means if you call 548-1103, you will immediately reach a highly trained individual who will promptly provide you with the assistance you need. ECO’s are often able to handle issues over the phone without needing to send an officer. In other situations, an ECO will send the appropriate units to your location in a timely manner. As well, there is always an ECO behind the window at the police department.
The Darke County Commissioners have stated they will offer dispatching services to the city at no cost but they are not willing to sign a long-term contract, or any contract, with the city. This means once the Greenville dispatch is closed, and at the mercy of the Darke County Sheriff’s Office, they can begin charging the city whatever amount they choose. The only recourse the city would have is to reopen its dispatch at astronomical costs.
There was also a reluctance by the county to develop a grievance procedure in case of errors made by dispatchers. The Greenville Police Department has procedures in place to handle these mistakes. If the public or someone within the department feels a call was mishandled, their complaint will be thoroughly looked into. If the county takes over dispatching, there is no guarantee this will be the same.
As well, the Sheriff’s dispatch and Greenville dispatch serve as backup dispatch centers for each other. If phones or radios go down at one location, the other office can be utilized for emergency services until repairs are made.
The Darke County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers are a great group of people and we have a great respect for the jobs they do everyday. However, there is just not a replacement for having someone local that will make our citizens, Police Officers, and Firefighters their highest priority.
Elizabeth Collins, Greenville, Ohio
Vice President, Local IAFF 1101 Firefighters Union