UPDATE WITH BELPRE POLICE CHIEF OPINION: A central 911 center is coming to Washington County

WTAP News @ 6- 911 center coming to Washington county
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 7:21 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio. (WTAP) -

UPDATE: JUNE 30, 2022 - 9:30 AM

Belpre’s Police Chief Terry Williams has responded to a request for comment. He said that transfers take seconds not minutes, adding that, while it’s possible for a transfer to take minutes, it hasn’t happened at Belpre dispatch.

He said that Belpre needs to keep dispatchers in Belpre, so if they had dispatchers in both the central location and in Belpre, it would cost a lot of money - over $300,000 to be exact.

Williams said the area also needs dispatch closer to scenes of crime so that it’s faster to get to emergencies.

He also added that having dispatchers in Belpre is important because Belpre officers understand the needs of Belpre.

ORIGINAL STORY: JUNE 29, 2022

The Washington County Commission and other local departments are working together to create a central 911 center in Washington County.

The purpose of the center is to cut down on time spent transferring calls.

County Commissioner Charlie Schilling said that the people he’s talked to in local police, fire, and EMS departments say there are too many delays with the current system.

Schilling explained that, as of now, cellphone calls to 911 either go to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office or Wood County 911, depending on where the caller is. This means that calls that go to the sheriff’s office have to be transferred to local police departments like Belpre or Marietta.

Schilling said delays can range from 30 seconds to minutes.

While that might not sound like much time, time is of the essence in emergencies.

“Thirty seconds to a minute is a lot when someone’s having a heart attack or having a stroke okay or there’s been a bad accident. That’s a lot of time lapse there,” Schilling said.

There is a committee composed of every Washington County entity connected to 911 calls whose duty is to plan and implement the 911 center, according to Schilling. They had their first meeting last week.

He added that the hope is that the 911 center will open in a year and a half. The facility will be multipurpose. While part of the building will handle 911 calls, the other part will be a community center.

Schilling said that officials are still in discussion with the City of Belpre, which is planning on keeping its dispatch center. If Belpre gets on board, there will be no call transfers. WTAP reached out to Belpre’s police chief for comment but have not heard back.

Officials are watching what Belmont does with its two 911 centers, according to Schilling. He explained that the area has a similar size and population. The plan is to research, evaluate, and work with Belmont to get a better feel for what to do with the 911 center in Washington County.

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