In two words, the Stark County Political Report "thinks not."
However, there is definitely a county administrative effort to centralize operations and systematize the collection of information and to make the information accessible to all of Stark County law enforcement.
The motivation appears to be government efficiencies and enhancement of effectiveness of governmental functions (especially with regard to the security and safety [both from a law enforcement/emergency services standpoint] of our persons and neighborhoods) to be realized with centralized, systematized operations and information gathering and integration.
When The Report attends a local government meeting with camera in hand, there is always a "take away" in the sense of a gestalt impression of what transpired.
There was enough talk at Tuesday's (i.e. May 12th) meeting of Stark County Council of Government Executive Committee (SCOG-EC) about centralizing (e.g. centralized dispatch) and the systematizing of the gathering of information (e.g. the crime lab) that the thought of Big Brother does cross one's mind.
However, the SCPR hastens to add that the work now being done not seem at all to be of that order. Of course, we are all interested that efficiencies and effectiveness pursuits not be taken to the point that our individual liberties are impinged upon.
At the national level of U.S. government there has been much debate of late as to whether or not government is getting too intrusive of our personal liberties in government's zeal to look after "we the people's" security and safety.
But no one should think that imbalances cannot happen at the local level. Accordingly, we all have a duty to ourselves and to each other to be vigilant in ensuring that we do not empower government to go too far on centralization/information gathering aspects of governance.
The Report has put together a video collage of excerpts from Tuesday's meeting to give readers a sense of the discussion that may have prompted the thought of Big Brotherism to come to mind. (SCPR Note: the entire SCOG-EC session video is presented at the end of this blog).
In the video, the aspects of the discussion that point to a greater centralization of operations and information collection, the SCPR thinks, include:
- going from an initial concept of a SCOG approach (which includes all of Stark County's political subdivisions [35 entities]) to three (3) entities, likely in the form of a three member COG (Council of Governments),.to wit:
- the RED Center,
- the Canton Communications Center, and
- the Stark County Sheriff center
- Documentation of SCOG approach in this excerpt from North Canton City Council resolution date March 2, 2010:
- Resolution No. 19-10
A resolution declaring the City of North Canton's support in principle of a Countywide 9-1-1 Dispatch Center, and authorizing the Mayor of the City of North Canton to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding by- and between the City of North Canton and the Stark Council of Governments and declaring the same to be an emergency.
WHEREAS, the Stark Council of Governments ("SCOG"), whose membership includes 37 Townships, Villages and Municipalities in Stark County, has created a subcommittee of its organization called the Countywide 9-1-1 Dispatch Center Governance Board ("Board"); and
WHEREAS, the Board is comprised of nineteen members from Stark County including representatives from the public, Police Chiefs Association, Fire Chiefs Association, large and small townships and villages, Red Center ("LOGIC"), Alliance Dispatch, CenComm Dispatch, Canton Communication Center, Sheriff's Dispatch Center, Stark 9-1-1 Call Center, Criminal Justice Information ("CJIS"), City of Canton, Stark county Government, Stark Regional Transit Authority, the Stark County Sheriff and the Administrator of SCOG; and
WHEREAS, the Governance Board has been appointed to oversee and recommend to SCOG the appropriate operational functions of the Countywide 9-1-1 Dispatch Center.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NORTH CANTON, COUNTY OF STARK, STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That the City of North Canton, be, and hereby supports, in principle, a Countywide 9-1-1 Dispatch Center.
- establishment of a centralized records management (RMS) system which would enable (as the SCPR understands the concept) law enforcement entities and, perhaps, other government units to access individual records across political/governmental jurisdictional lines,
- other uses of collected information as spin off benefits to government as value added factors to the primary purposes of centralization and systematization operations and information gathering
The edited video.
And here is the video of the entire SCOG-EC session of May 13th.