Officials apply for grant to aid in 911 merger


Mahoning County and Austintown and Boardman townships are jointly applying for a $299,943 grant that would facilitate radio communication between county sheriff’s deputies and Austintown and Boardman police and consolidation of 911 emergency dispatching centers.

That grant application is part of a larger plan approved Monday by the Boardman Township trustees, which includes creation of a new regional council of governments consisting of the county and the two townships to achieve the consolidation.

The Mahoning County commissioners have resolutions approving the plan on the agenda for their 10 a.m. meeting today in the county courthouse basement.

“The reason for this grant application is to carry on our efforts to explore regionalization” of 911 answering points, explained Maj. William Cappabianca of the county sheriff’s office.

“What we would be purchasing with the $300,000 would be equipment that is communications oriented,” such as law enforcement radios, Cappabianca said.

The new communications equipment, including portable radios, would make the sheriff’s department radio system compatible with the one used by Austintown and Boardman police, he said.

The grant, which would consist of federal funds, would require no local matching funds.

Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols explained that the consolidation move is being driven in part by a state policy. Beginning in 2018, the cellular phone 911 fees it collects won’t go to more than three 911 answering points per county (four answering points in several counties with large cities).

“It’s the first baby step we have to take to kind of make some sense of all of this,” in terms of 911 consolidation, Nichols said of the new agreement between the county and the townships.

County officials should learn in June whether this grant will actually be awarded, he added.

Read MUCH MORE in Thursday's VINDICATOR.

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