POMEROY — In order to comply with a mandate from the State of Ohio, the Meigs County Commissioner have signed an agreement with Athens County to answer any possible rollover calls which come into the Meigs County 911 system.
As previously discussed by the Meigs County Commissioners and 911 Director Robbie Jacks, with the upgrades required by the state to move to the Enhanced 911 system, counties would be required to have two dispatchers on duty at all times, or have an agreement in place to answer possible rollover calls.
Meigs County 911 has one dispatcher on shift at a time and, according to statistics provided to Jacks and Commissioner Randy Smith by the state, answers 100 percent of calls within 30 seconds and 98 percent within 20 seconds of the call coming in. This is a better mark than many others in the state, noted Jacks and Smith.
The commissioners and Jacks made a trip to Columbus a few weeks ago to present testimony in support of an alternative to the two dispatcher requirement.
Following the testimony and conversations with state officials, local officials worked with State Senator Frank Hoagland to place an amendment in the budget bill which would allow for Meigs County, and any of those in similar situations, to continue to operate with one dispatcher as long as they meet all other requirements set for the upgraded system and have a plan in place to answer any possible rollover calls.
That is where the agreement with Athens County comes in.
With the agreement, should the dispatcher for Meigs County 911 already be on a call and/or unable to answer in a certain length of time, the call would rollover to Athens County 911 to be answered. The call would then be transferred back to Meigs County 911 when the dispatcher is available or Athens County’s dispatcher could take the needed information for the call.
It is expected that those calls needed to be handled by Athens County will be limited.
Should the county not complete the upgrade and meet the new requirements, they would lose the approximately $90,000 in funding from the state annually which comes from cell phone fees.
The two person on duty requirement was the final step in the upgrade. The county has already purchased the necessary equipment from the upgrade to take place.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.