City of Eaton approves dispatch merger

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — The City of Eaton held a special council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 31, to discuss the public safety dispatch merger with Preble County, and approved a plan presented by county commissioners.

The city was presented with the county’s first offer on Monday, Oct. 16. After discussing the details as presented, Mayor David Kirsch responded that he supported the merger, but wanted the price to be fair for both entities. He requested additional time to discuss the matter and informed Commission President Chris Day they “would be in touch.”

The Preble County Board of Commissioners presented the city with a new proposal, dated Oct. 26. This is the proposal City Council chose to discuss duringthe special meeting.

The new proposal states Preble County will provide the City of Eaton and its police, fire, and emergency medical departments dispatch and communication services. Those services consist of 24 hour, seven day per week dispatching service for all calls including E9-1-1, computerized CAD dispatch, records management services, radio communication services, and other information which assists the City of Eaton in protecting property and keeping the peace.

The proposal does not include any costs otherwise associated with the operation of the Preble County PSAP, which is governed by the Preble County 9-1-1 Plan as amended.

According to the commissioners’ proposal, the City of Eaton would pay the sum of $775,000 for a three year period as follows: $259,000 for the first year, $258,000 for the second year, and $258,000 for the third year. Both parties will review the fiscal arrangement at the end of the third year.

The City of Eaton will provide all mobile/portable radio equipment compatible with the system utilized by the Preble County Sheriff. They shall purchase any additional hardware that they feel appropriate and they will maintain hardware which meets minimum hardware requirements of the current versions of the Computer Aided Dispatch and Mapping applications.

The city shall install and maintain anti-virus software on all devices connecting to the Preble County Sheriff’s servers. Software, updates, and documentation shall be provided by the sheriff. The City of Eaton is responsible for installing these updates.

The Preble County Sheriff will establish a complaint procedure the city will follow.

After discussion, Mayor Kirsch said, “This is something I have been looking at since I first joined council 15 years ago. It just made sense when you think about 48,000 people countywide and how the county is set up. One 9-1-1 makes sense. Both our Police and Fire/EMS is welcoming this as well. To me, this looks like a great partnership.

“We’ve been taking care of our own 9-1-1 and its expenses. All the other villages have one that goes to the Sheriff’s Department. It only makes sense to partner with the county. I appreciate you guys going back to the drawing board with this deal. I think this is equitable and I like the three year payment program.”

Now council has approved the deal as presented, staff is responsible for drafting up legislation. Once that goes forward, staff will then work with the sheriff and police chief to transfer positions and get all the details hammered out. According to Sheriff Mike Simpson, it will take up to a year to get everything finished and sorted out.

He added, he can update council on progress throughout the year.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH