New dispatch software saving thousands of taxpayer dollars

Sidney Police dispatchers prepare for new software. (Photo by: WDTN/Jake Ryle)

SIDNEY, Ohio (WDTN) — A new generation of police dispatch software is being installed this week in several local communities.

Shelby and Logan County Sheriff’s offices, along with the cities of Bellefontaine and Sidney are teaming up to share the new software.

Essentially, if a dispatch center goes down due to outside circumstances, your call will be picked up by another local dispatch center. Sidney Police Chief William Balling says it’s a first of its kind dispatch in the region.

“In the state of Ohio there’s only a couple other areas that are looking to go with this and sharing this system,” he said.

The dispatch center comes at a cost of $429,000; however, the four jurisdictions will share the software, and also share the cost. Had the Sidney Police Department bought the software just for themselves, they would have paid more than $250,000. Now, they’re paying around $110,000 — a savings of around $140,000 taxpayer dollars.

Chief Balling says the system they once had was effective, but needed an update. This update will now carry the jurisdictions into the 21st century. He tells 2 NEWS that the software is capable of accepting text and video messages to dispatch, however, that won’t be used anytime soon.

Linda Moeller, a resident in Sidney, says she used 9-1-1 two years ago.

“My son and I thought I was having a heart attack, but it was just diabetes,” she said.

She’s glad the communities are saving money, and hopefully saving lives in the process.

“I don’t know if it saved my life, but it made it a whole lot easier to get medical treatment.”

Sidney’s dispatch software was updated Wednesday morning. The other three jurisdictions will receive their new software later this week.

Chief Balling doesn’t expect the software to improve dispatch times; however, he says it’s a good fail-safe in case of an emergency that shuts down a dispatch center.

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