Dispatch Center in Clark County, Ohio, Will Accept Video, Text

The new dispatch center for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office will put the county in accordance with Next Generation 911 requirements that call for dispatch services to become more advanced.

by Parker Perry, Springfield News-Sun, Ohio / July 29, 2019

(TNS) — Clark County will build a new $5 million 9-1-1 dispatch center that will allow residents to text, send pictures and videos to dispatchers.

The new dispatch center for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office will put the county in accordance with Ohio’s Next Generation 9-1-1 requirements that call for dispatch services to become more advanced. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office dispatches for all Clark County township emergency management personnel as well, excluding Mad River Twp.

Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said the new facility will be state-of-the-art.

“It’s about public safety,” he said. “It’s about getting help to you faster.”

The changes are part of a larger overhaul that requires local governments to upgrade their systems. According to an overview published by the Ohio Justice and Public Safety committee, the public has become accustomed to utilizing digital content such as GPS, audio and video recordings, pictures, and texts. And therefore, contacting it’s important for emergency services to update as well.

“We started a couple of years ago looking forward to a new dispatch for the county and the equipment we acquired we made sure were going to be next generation capable,” Lohnes said. “What that means, and it’s a requirement, but its full cell data. You can text a problem, you can send pictures, you can send a video and all of the data you can normally transmit to some other cellphone can be received and put into the dispatching computer system. That’s the next level.”

The county selected Springfield-based McCall Sharp Architecture to design an addition to a county building that will house the new dispatch center. It will be located on Home Road in the former Clark County Department of Job and Family Services Children’s Home. The current 3,800-square-foot facility will also be repurposed as an office and training facility. A 3,300-square-foot addition to the building will house the 9-1-1 dispatch center managed by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

“It has always been my contention that we didn’t need to add any more real estate to what the county already owned,” Lohnes said. “And we worked really hard on how we would do this and where we would do this based on dollars.”

The original plan was to turn the existing building into the dispatch center, but because of laws requiring heightened security for dispatch centers, the county instead elected to invest in a sheltered building and still utilize the older building, Lohnes said.

The Board of Clark County Commissioners approved the $150,000 contract for design services.

McCall Sharp Architecture, located at 100 East Main St. inside the Shawnee Place Apartment Building, has designed several other prominent facilities in Clark County, including the recent additions at the Clark County Public Library, Catholic Central High School and the Global Impact STEM Academy. The firm also designed the Community Gardens senior living facility at the former Community Hospital site and the new Rocking Horse Community Health Center facility.

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