Mahoning County 911 dispatchers to become township employees

Published: Fri, June 17, 2016 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken


The Mahoning County commissioners approved the transition of dispatchers at the county’s 911 emergency answering point in the county administration building in downtown Youngstown from being county employees to being Austintown and Boardman township employees.

Under the 911 reorganization plan the commissioners approved March 31, six of the county’s 12 emergency 911 dispatchers were to go to Boardman and five to Austintown, with one taking a civilian job in the county sheriff’s office.

Under the plan, the dispatchers will become employees of those townships, respectively, as of midnight July 2.

The townships’ dispatching centers gradually will add to their dispatching responsibilities the jurisdictions for which the county center now dispatches.

The center in the county administration building, which dispatches for 13 agencies, likely will cease answering 911 calls within the next 12 to 18 months, Maggi McGee, county 911 director, said Thursday.

“Even though, July 2, technically, the employees are under them [Austintown and Boardman], they are still going to be up in that dispatch center,” in downtown Youngstown, until Austintown and Boardman can assume dispatching responsibilities for all affected communities, McGee said.

“We can’t have any calls go unanswered or busy,” as the transition occurs, McGee said.

The new arrangement will reduce from nine to eight the number of 911 answering points in Mahoning County.

The change is being spurred by the fact that, beginning in 2018, revenues from the 25-cents-a-month 911 fee the state collects from cellphone users won’t go to more than three 911 answering points per county.

The commissioners also approved a $550,400 agreement with Emergitech Inc. of Columbus for an upgrade to the countywide computer-aided 911 dispatching system.

“We’re not only better serving the community, we’re upgrading the services, and, I think that, ultimately, you’ll see this consolidate the entire county,” into three or four 911 answering points, Commissioner David Ditzler said.

“We’re now moving in that direction. This is an excellent first step,” he added.

“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said.

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