EATON — The 9-1-1 dispatch merger between the City of Eaton and Preble County was supposed to go live this past week, but due to delays with data conversion, the live date has been pushed back to the week of Tuesday, May 28.
According to Sheriff Mike Simpson, the merger has been on the table for several years, but last year the county commissioners agreed to create one countywide dispatch center. He noted, there are two goals to this project. The first is not duplicating costs and efforts and the second is to staff one dispatch center appropriately.
Before the merger, both Eaton and Preble County dispatch centers were short on dispatchers.
An agreement was made between the City of Eaton and Preble County for the county to take on dispatching duties for the city.
The original goal was to have the merged dispatch center up and running the previous week, but officials ran into data conversion issues. Zuercher Technologies LLC is converting both departments’ data and bringing it over into one central location. Both agencies will be able to share each others data.
“There has been some hiccups with the data conversion, but I think we’re on track now that we’re looking at the week of May 28. If everything goes well, sometime on the 28th we should be moving over,” Simpson said. “We’re a couple weeks behind, but we want to make sure that the data they convert over is accurate and tells us everything it needs to.
“The next thing we’ll do, is the county will need to amend their 9-1-1 plan. On our current plan, it calls for two PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points). We’ve been that way since Preble County went to 9-1-1 back in 1993 or 1994. We will amend that to go to one PSAP.”
For Sheriff Simpson, the dispatch merger is crucial for appropriate staffing, saving fiscal resources, and improving available technology.
“One center fully staffed with appropriate personnel assigned to our busy times of day county wide is the number one reason. Number two, it just makes fiscal sense to not be spending money to duplicate technology and things of that nature when, in this day and age, you don’t really have to duplicate. 25 years ago, you had to duplicate because that was the way things were, but many places are going to one centralized dispatch center to be able to manage resources during time of emergency,” Simpson said.
“Making sure that you have good, properly trained 911 dispatchers that are on the end of that call [is important]. The other thing with this merger is that the technology that we’re going to be going to is hands down some of the best technology out there and the best technology that the Sheriff’s Department has had since I’ve been here 31 years. The data and information that is going to be available to the police officer and deputy sheriff on the street is going to be second to none.”
In the next several weeks the Sheriff’s Office will be sharing more information with the public on the dispatch merger and how this situation is going to be handled.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH