Earlier today (August 11, 2022), an opinion was issued stating petitions prepared and circulated by the referendum committee related to the Chagrin Valley Dispatch Resolution failed to comply with Ohio law. Due to that oversight, the referendum cannot proceed.
Notwithstanding the failure of the referendum effort and given the community interest expressed in this issue, I alternatively will be introducing new legislation at the August 16 meeting with Councilmembers to repeal Resolution 2022-55, which gave the administration authorization to enter into a contract with Chagrin Valley Dispatch.
Regionalization offers faster response times, better equipment and improves the overall safety of our community. I remain committed to securing these benefits for North Olmsted residents. I will continue to work with my fellow West Shore Mayors on this issue and am confident we will be able to come together with a solution for regionalized dispatch needs.
To see the full legal opinion click here.
The City of North Olmsted is joining the number two ranked dispatch center in the country in Chagrin Valley Dispatch Center (CVD). This Center is located in Cleveland Heights. CVD is a Council of Governments (COG), which means each participating member city or other agency has a voice and a vote on any decisions impacting CVD. A COG is a governmental agency, not a private company. Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail is currently CVD’s President. Police and Fire service levels will remain the same and all emergency dispatch calls for Police and Fire will be answered by Chagrin Valley. Please note that no city that has joined CVD has left, indicating the quality of their service and their confidence in the organization.
Q: Will North Olmsted Police Officers and Firefighter/Paramedics still respond to my home and patrol our streets 24-hours per day after dispatch services are consolidated?
A: Yes. Nothing will change with regard to police, fire, or medical emergency response. If a citizen requests a response from police or fire/EMS in the City of North Olmsted, a North Olmsted first responder will respond as they currently do, directly from the North Olmsted Police Department, located at 27243 Lorain Road; North Olmsted Fire Station No. 1 is located at 24291 Lorain Road; and Fire Station No. 2 is located at 29592 Lorain Road. The physical location of the dispatch center does not slow response time as the processes are the same.
Q: If I call, will the consolidated dispatching center slow down the response rates for police and fire?
A: No. Calls will be routed the same way they are today. In fact, in terms of Fire/EMS, the switch to Chagrin Valley Dispatch will actually improve dispatch times, helping our City meet the Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating standards that it currently does not meet today. An ISO score has the power to impact insurance rates for the City.
Q: What happens to current mutual aid assistance with other cities on the west shore?
A: Mutual aid agreements will not change. For example, if North Olmsted has a major structure fire, surrounding communities will still be notified and be able to respond and assist.
Q: What will happen to our current dispatchers?
A: All North Olmsted dispatchers will have a job available to them at CVD that includes a pay raise, signing bonus, and better benefits. CVD also offers career pathways, such as to supervisory roles or in information technology, that we cannot offer.
Q: How many dispatchers will be assigned to North Olmsted?
A: North Olmsted will have two (2) dedicated, full-time dispatchers 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week.
Q: Which other cities are being dispatched from the Center in Cleveland Heights?
A: There are five (5) other cities dispatched out of the Heights-Hillcrest Center. They are: Cleveland Heights, Richmond Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid, and University Heights.
Q: Will the non-emergency phone number still exist?
A: Yes. You can still call 440-777-3535 for any non-emergency issue.
Q: Who will assist me at the Police Department’s front counter outside the business hours of Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.?
A: After standard business hours, a trained CVD dispatcher will have video coverage of the front vestibule of the lobby. A phone will be located in the vestibule for those with an emergency to use to contact dispatch. The dispatcher will have the ability to send a North Olmsted officer to the lobby.
Q: What would happen to our Dispatch Services if there was a major power failure or storm?
A: We have no redundancy here. Meaning, if the power goes out, the dispatch system is inoperable. The move to Chagrin Valley Dispatch will mean extra layers of protection. If there is a power outage, calls roll over to two other dispatch centers in the CVD family, located in Bedford and Brecksville. Chagrin Valley Dispatch is the communication center for 31 communities in Cuyahoga County as well as the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office and Cleveland Metroparks.
Q: Will the front door to the Police Department be locked when the television monitor service is operating? If so, what if I feel threatened and would like to enter the building?
A: The entrance to the Police Department lobby will remain unlocked 24/7 just as it is currently. Once a citizen is inside of the lobby, if they feel threatened or need a safe place, a dispatcher, while viewing them on video, can open a secure room for them to enter and remain in until a Police Officer can respond to assist.
Q: What are estimated savings for North Olmsted?
A: First, this is not just all about cost savings. That is a benefit, but the Administration would not risk the safety of residents to save money. The cost savings would vary year to year and the more cities joining Chagrin Valley the more the savings would be. Our projections, though on a conservative basis, would be $250,000-$300,000 on an average year for the first five years. After the buy-in goes away in year five, it would be an additional $100,000 savings per year meaning between $350,000-$400,000. However, setting aside any potential cost savings, the other advantages to Chagrin Valley Dispatch, such as superior technology and equipment maintenance, make it worth making the change.
Q: Have other communities been successful with consolidated services?
A: Yes. There are many communities across Ohio and the country that have consolidated their dispatch centers. In fact, we received many letters of support from Police and Fire Chiefs, as well as a Mayor, while we were presenting our case to City Council. For example, we received a letter of support from the Brecksville Fire Chief, Broadview Heights Police Chief, and Mayor Daniel Fritz of Moreland Hills who also is a professional firefighter.
Additionally, on Thursday, February 17 of this year, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters, Fairlawn Mayor William Roth, Stow Mayor John Pribonic and Tallmadge Mayor David Kline signed an agreement to create the Summit County Regional Dispatch Center. Summit County and the cities entered into an intergovernmental agreement creating a Council of Governments to jointly own and operate a 911 dispatch center.
Q: Why can’t there be another west side dispatch center?
A: If North Olmsted thought there could be a viable option on the west side that would meet the high standards of Chagrin Valley, the City would be willing to join it. While researching our possible options, there were too many unanswered questions and uncertainty with a west side dispatch center. The employment opportunities for our dispatchers and the safety of North Olmsted residents were too important for us to take unknown risks.