One commissioner wants the director to add departments to the center.
By ED RUNYAN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Michael Dolhancryk was a volunteer firefighter for the Beaver Township Fire Department in Mahoning County in 1974 when a roof fell on him while on a call. His injuries required two years of rehabilitation, and he was told he would never be a firefighter again.
Dolhancryk spent the next six years earning bachelor's and master's degrees and took on his first job running a police and fire dispatching center in 1980. Twenty-six years and many jobs later, he is back in the Mahoning Valley -- this time as director of the Trumbull County 911 Dispatch Center, in Howland. He started work Tuesday.
The local position is Dolhancryk's fourth as a director, but he has worked around the world and seen dispatch centers in hundreds of communities, because he also did consulting work for Intergraph Corp. His work dealt with the software needs of dispatching centers.
Wherever he has worked, Dolhancryk, 63, said, his job has been to identify ways to make dispatch centers better.
His last job was as director of the dispatching center in Norwalk, Conn., where he oversaw the merger of the police and fire dispatching for the city of 83,000 people. There he replaced the dispatchers with civilians, which allowed the police department to expand its police force by six officers.
Among Dolhancryk's hopes for Trumbull County are that he will improve the efficiency of operations and show area police and fire chiefs ways that area departments can work together better.
Dolhancryk points out that dispatching for police, fire and emergency medical services has changed dramatically since 1980. Today, computers provide enough information that the county's 911 dispatchers could do their job from California just as easily as from Trumbull County, he said.
It means that the number of dispatchers needed to do the work keeps dropping. One dispatcher in Trumbull County can provide information to 20 or 25 officers, he said. Though Dolhancryk wouldn't say what the ratio is at the center, he said he thought there was room for improvement.
There are also many ways that departments use their resources better, such as ways to find the nearest available piece of equipment for an emergency.
"One of the things I can do is help the very talented people [in police and fire departments] coordinate what they do. Sometimes I'm a referee. For me ... it seems to be my specialty to see the forest for the trees."
Saying he is a "firefighter at heart," Dolhancryk has also been a paramedic and emergency medical technician and taught law enforcement and firefighting classes, he said.
He will earn $72,746 per year plus free housing. Commissioner Paul Heltzel said tentative plans call for him to live in the 911 center.
Heltzel said one of Dolhancryk's jobs will be for him to persuade the police and fire departments that do not use the county's dispatch center to get on board. Those departments are Warren, Niles, Girard, Hubbard, Newton Falls and McDonald and the townships of Liberty, Warren, Lordstown and Weathersfield.
"Someone needs to sell the idea that the lowest-cost service is Trumbull County's," Heltzel said.
Dolhancryk replaces Tim Gladis, who was fired in July 2005 after serving eight years as director. Karen Davies, assistant director, has served as interim director since then.
Dolhancryk is originally from Philadelphia.