As you may have seen in the media, an error affecting Sylvania was made by an employee in the centralized Lucas County 911 Regional Council of Governments(RCOG) dispatching center on February 11, 2022. The dispatcher mistakenly sent emergency crews to Monroe and Erie Streets in downtown Toledo rather than to the actual accident location at Monroe and Erie in Sylvania.
Thanks to the fast and heroic action taken by Bob May to assist a female traffic crash victim trapped in her burning vehicle, a potentially deadly outcome was avoided. We honored Mr. May with a Citizen's Commendation at our March 7th City Council meeting.
The director of the 911 RCOG promptly accepted responsibility for the error, and has been transparent with steps being taken to avoid similar errors in the future. Members of the media were invited to the dispatch center for an onsite review of the proper dispatching process.
On March 9th, I attended the 911 RCOG Administrative Committee meeting charged with overseeing the funding of the 911 RCOG. The committee further reviewed required improvements before voting for the next six months of funding for the RCOG.
Despite problems with equipment updates, and particularly hiring and retaining adequate staffing levels of dispatchers, I believe progress is being made to overcome these early operational issues.
This centralized dispatching has been mandated by the State of Ohio Revised Code requiring counties to reduce the number of dispatching centers, or PSAP's (Public Safety Answering Points), statewide with the goal of creating safer and more effective and efficient systems. The City of Sylvania had already been informed that we would lose our PSAP funding within the next few years. Using the State of Ohio legislation, Lucas County set in motion this required consolidation, starting operations in October of 2021.
To date, the results have been largely positive, but not without concerns. Although most calls are being answered promptly, there have been a few reports of slower response times due to heavy call volumes elsewhere in Lucas County. Sylvania City Administration continues to work with the 911 RCOG to improve the dispatching functions for our citizens. As with any change, adjustments need to be made for continued improvement.
We will be closely monitoring both the responsiveness of the Lucas County 911 RCOG and its ability to provide prompt emergency services to our residents. Look for an update on this in future messages.
Bob May receives Citizen's Commendation at March 7th City Council Meeting.