October 20, 2014

Medina
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Sheriff proposes cooperation among dispatch centers

MEDINA — Sheriff Neil Hassinger proposed more collaboration among the county’s dispatch centers as well as a communications district at a meeting with his colleagues Friday.

At minimum, Hassinger said a communications district would have dispatch centers working together to find funding opportunities and to share equipment.

“We just want to look to see if there’s a more economical way to do business,” Hassinger said Friday.

At maximum, he said the idea could involve consolidating dispatch centers to as few as one. However, he said he doesn’t think the idea would get very far because a 10-year plan local safety services officials created last year called for the county’s four dispatch centers to remain open.

“It doesn’t seem (the idea) would get off the ground,” Hassinger said.

A committee comprised of local police and fire chiefs, Medina County Emergency Management Agency officials and others will explore the communications district idea. The panel will report to the 911 Wireless Technical Advisory Committee, which met Friday. That group would be in charge of drafting a plan for any collaboration.

The county has four full-time dispatch centers. Brunswick’s serves the city and Brunswick Hills and Hinckley townships. Medina’s serves the city and Medina and Montville townships. Wadsworth’s serves the city and Wadsworth Township. The Sheriff’s Office serves all other parts of the county.

The Ohio Highway Patrol has a dispatch center in Medina Township that is operated through a separate statewide system.

Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said having multiple dispatch centers creates redundancy.

“A natural disaster, a terrorist attack — something could knock out a center; and if all you have is one, you’re in trouble,” he said. Thus, he said, he wouldn’t support consolidating the dispatch centers.
However, Berarducci said he approves of collaboration among the various dispatch centers.

“The most appropriate way is to look at what things we want to share and how we are going to fund them,” he said, noting the idea has been proposed in the past but never got far.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.