Thursday, July 21, 2011


Yesterday, Stark County Emergency Services Director Tim Warstler made an auspicious announcement at the Stark County commissioners weekly regular meeting to the effect that Stark County made a huge step in improved 9-1-1 emergency services in implementing a "state of the art" (on the call receiving side) technically advanced system.

However, the dispatch side is unchanged.

Stark County has come a long way from this 2008 analysis of the Stark County system commissioned to GeoComm, to wit:
This [Stark County's] current [February, 2008] lack of radio interoperability can be, and has been, the cause of injuries and death to public safety professionals and citizens and therefore needs to be resolved.

But day-to-day coordination means more than radios that talk to each other.  The lack of coordination inherent in having dispatching done from ten different places on ten different radio systems under ten different procedures and five different computer systems with ten different sets of employees is a disaster waiting to happen, if it has not happened too many times already (and in Stark County it has).
Despite the advance, problems still remain.

While Warstler, being the diplomat he is, would not say it this way (the SCPR will), the city of Canton under the direction of Mayor William J. Healy, II and his Safety Director Tom Ream stand in the way of completing the "disaster waiting to happen" rebuild of Stark's emergency 9-1-1 system.

Moreover, Warstler is very kind to the Nimishillen Township trustees.  Again, the SCPR will not be so kind.  It appears to The Report that a board of former but also the current trustees have let Fire Chief Rich Peterson hamstring them into not fully participating in the revamped countywide emergency services system.

While Warstler says Nimishillen's CenCom does now have communication integration with the county's new system, it does not receive call direct from emergency callers as does the rest of Stark County.  Also, because of equipment disparity (Nimishillen refused the countywide 9-1-1 offer of new equipment made last year) future enhancements to the countywide system (texting and video) could be, Warstler says,  problematical.

The Report believes a former board of  Nimishillen trustees got talked into (an unwise decision) building a new fire station principally to house CenCom and because of an outstanding large mortgage the current trustees cannot see a financially clear path (needing the revenue generated by CenCom) to merging CenCom into the countywide system.

Here is a video of Warstler and 9-1-1 Project Manager Joe Concatto talking about the CenCom (Nimishillen) problem (the SCPR's words, not Warstler's and Concatto's).

Insofar as Canton is concerned, the SCPR is especially disappointed in Councilman Bill Smuckler.  In his losing campaign to replace Canton Democrat Mayor William J. Healy, II as the Democratic Party nominee, he pushed Healy (during the campaign) to get on board "fully" with countywide 9-1-1 and thereby save Canton about $480,000 a year.

Smuckler even had a public meeting schedule to compel the Healy administration to give an specific accounting as to why he and Safety Director Ream were dragging their feet.  But then came the announcement that Sheriff Swanson was "off the 9-1-1 - fully participating - reservation" (he is now back on board) and Smuckler seems to have vanished on this issue.

The Report expects more of Smuckler than being Healy-esque (what is in this for me politically).  He has long been one of if the the leading proponent for local Stark County governments working together.

Smuckler still has five months left as councilman.  If he allows Healy and Ream continue to get in the way of the finalization 9-1-1 rebuild, then yours truly has to wonder how much different is he from Healy after all.

While a monumental positive advance has been made on the 9-1-1 call receiving side, much work remains on the dispatch (CAD) side.  Healy and Ream talk like they intend to come to a resolution on the impasse between Canton and the county, but - in fact - "the devil is in the details" of getting to where Canton needs to be in order to finalize a fully rehabilitated countywide 9-1-1.

The SCPR will be keeping the heat on Healy and Ream to step forward and say specifically why they are dragging their feat.  Moreover, Canton City Council needs to get involved and fight to release the choke hold the Healy/Ream tag team seem to have on Canton's full participation in both sides of the 9-1-1 fix.

Here is a video of Warstler reporting to the Stark County commissioners on the implementation of the the 9-1-1 call side rehab:

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