Monroe ‘cutting out the middleman’ with Butler County Sheriff’s Office dispatching emergency calls

City paying sheriff a fee of $57,383 for this year, and that is adjusted annually based on call volume.

The city of Monroe is “cutting out the middleman” by turning over fire and EMS dispatching to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, but the switch could cause delays if people try to use the direct number instead of 911.

The city posted the change on Facebook and warned there could be delays if people still try to dial the 10-digit number instead of calling 911. Fire Chief Dave Leverage told the Journal-News there are businesses and residents who use the direct line instead of 911, so they asked them to stop to avoid delays.

He said if they call the other number now, their dispatch center will have to route calls to the county dispatchers.

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“To keep people from doing that from now on, creating a delay, we wanted to make sure everyone knew to just dial 911,” Leverage said. “That’s the best way to get us out to your location the quickest.”

Monroe is a secondary dispatch center that doesn’t receive calls directly from the 911 system, the calls come into the sheriff where they were routed back to the city for dispatching. The police calls will still go back to Monroe but the sheriff is going to handle fire dispatching now.

After the agreement was sealed with the county commissioners in December, Monroe City Manager Bill Brock told the Journal-News this “cuts out the middleman” which is a good thing, plus they don’t have dedicated staff to deal with 911 medical emergencies so this eliminates calls bouncing back and forth.

“In emergency situations fire and EMS every second counts,“ Brock said. “So we’re just making sure we’re getting those calls through and those individuals dispatched as quickly as possible.”

He said they were not considering turning the whole the dispatch operation over to the sheriff, “nothing that’s bubbled up, nothing that there’s a need there.”

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Brock couldn’t be reached for comment, but Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said there still isn’t a plan to take over all of Monroe’s dispatching.

Dwyer said it has taken some time to get the service switch in place, “we had to put all these things in motion before we threw the switch.”

“We went into a phase of implementing, it’s not that simple, you enter into the agreement and then you have to put it in action. That took some time,” Dwyer said. “I think they outfitted their vehicles with equipment and we had to put some protocols in play.”

Leverage said they have switched over to a new computer-aided dispatching system and have laptops and tablets in their vehicles “that enable us to see the calls and get more additional information in regards to the calls while we’re in route.”

Capt. Matt Franke, the county’s 911 coordinator, said up until 2018 — when the 911 Planning Committee made a change — Middletown was answering emergency calls for Monroe and Trenton. The two communities were switched over to the sheriff because Middletown “was struggling to meet their answering times.”

Fairfield, Middletown and West Chester Twp. answer and dispatch their own emergency 911 calls. Hamilton and Oxford also had their own centers until several years ago, when they turned the service over to the county. Miami University and Trenton are also secondary dispatch centers, that don’t get calls directly from the 911 system.

The commissioners ratified the deal with the city, and in return for the services, the city is paying the sheriff a fee of $57,383 for this year. That fee is adjusted annually based on call volume. Trenton also began paying for the service this year, they were billed $28,542. Hamilton and Oxford have been paying for the service since the sheriff took over their dispatching.

The debate over dispatch fees had been festering for years, and last year was the first year six jurisdictions that have their own cop shops but use the sheriff’s dispatching services had to pay a total of $379,239 based on the number of 911 calls. A total of $349,757 is collectively owed by Fairfield Twp., MetroParks, New Miami, Oxford and Ross townships and Seven Mile.

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