EATON — College Corner Solicitor Harrison Green attended the Preble County Commissioners’ meeting on Aug. 16 to discuss the village’s 9-1-1 services and the idea of contracting out of Oxford, instead of Preble County.
Green is the solicitor for the Ohio side of College Corner only — the Indiana side has its own solicitor.
Green began, “The issue is there has been a concern in the village for a period time. We’re in an unusual corner of two counties and we have all sorts of trouble being on two state lines and county lines. You may be aware that our police service is contracted out of Butler County Sheriff office.
“Over the years, the concern has been for the health and safety of the people of College Corner. We’re concerned with response time for emergency service. We have Oxford five miles away and they can respond much quicker if they were called out of Oxford. Whereas, the typical thing has been for Preble County to take the call, send it to Camden, and then Camden responds. Oxford has full-time people on call. As I understand it, Camden is both a full-time and volunteer service.
“Their respond time is considerably slower for us [than Oxford would be] and we believe that response time is critical to us. We’re in a strange situation being in two counties and I’m not even sure what the breakdown is anymore.”
“You’re going to be in two counties no matter what service you use,” Commissioner Rodney Creech responded.
“Right, we’re just suggesting that we move the 9-1-1 calls to the call center in Butler County,” Green said. “We would contract with Oxford for EMS services.”
“The question I have is, part of this is still going to be in Preble County,” Commissioner Chris Day pointed out. “We are still going to have a responsibility, I guess. I understand your situation, but I understand the Preble County Sheriff’s department’s side too. Where does the liability land? That’s my question.”
Officials with the Preble County Sheriff’s Department noted, they have no issues with transferring calls to the Butler County Sheriff’s Department.
Preble County Prosecutor Martin Votel questioned, “How does it work if they were to contract with an entity as a county for EMS runs and then 9-1-1 calls are placed and you transfer them? The time period for [Preble County] to transfer a call is seconds, maybe. However long it takes to answer a phone.”
“Has there been an issue that has come to terms that has made this a question?” Creech asked.
Green responded, “It has, because of the slow response from Camden. I understand that part of the problem is that Camden wants that service, because of their financial considerations. To me, financial considerations don’t come into factor when it is matters of life and death.”
“We have this issue a lot in this county. When you live in a rural county, response time can be an issue,” Creech pointed out.
“If College Corner were to contract with Oxford for EMS, would that alleviate your concerns?” Votel asked Green.
“Yes,” he answered. “But we still think, part of the issue here when you’re talking about landline, we realize you’re saying it could be a matter of seconds, but if we’re dealing with Oxford and calls are going to Oxford for EMS, police calls are going to Butler County, our contract is with Butler County to serve the whole county and there is mutual aid agreements. I’m a little confused to as why you are so resistant to changing that system to over where 50 landlines, which would comprise just about everybody on Preble County’s side that lives there, and we have Butler County’s side — there is probably another 30 to 40 landlines and we only have 300 people.”
Officials from Preble County said they are not receiving calls from Butler County’s side.
Commissioner Denise Robertson clarified, “So what you’re saying is, when they call 9-1-1 if you’re on Butler County’s side the call should go to Butler County? It’s direct on a landline. When a certain number calls 9-1-1 it goes to a certain place.”
“Our main concern is EMS,” Green said.
“So, the 9-1-1 calls take seconds and what you’re really concerned with is EMS,” Creech clarified. “So why don’t we leave the 9—11 alone and you just contract with Butler County or Oxford?”
Robertson said, “That would just be a matter of you contracting with Oxford and sending Preble County the paperwork.”
Officials with Preble County Sheriff’s office said College Corner has the right to contract with whomever they want, and if Preble County receives notice College Corner would like their EMS serviced by Oxford, then Preble County could transfer those calls immediately upon receiving notice.
“So 9-1-1 stays the same and they just contract with somebody else and we transfer the calls?” Creech clarified.
“I guess if they contract with Oxford, then the village just submits a letter to the Sheriff’s Office and then if they need EMS it will be routed to Oxford,” Day said.
Green was advised to speak with his client and to send the letter to the sheriff’s office if they choose to contract with Oxford.