STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- Dispatchers at the new Southwest Emergency Dispatch Center now handle all 911 emergency calls for both in the city of Strongsville and North Royalton.
Equipped with the latest technology, this is the regional dispatch center in the western part of Cuyahoga County.
It now serves 72,000 residents and businesses in the two cities.
"I believe each city's response team is going to maintain their own identity, but what's important is the response. And that's what we all have been able to improve on. And with technology we'll make the necessary advancements that will better serve the communities,” Strongsville Mayor Thomas Perciak said.
For North Royalton, the joint venture should save the city about $70,000 a year, but North Royalton Mayor Robert Stefanik said this is more than just about saving money.
“The dispatchers in Strongsville here are trained as what you would call first responders where they can give medical advice during a 911 call. So, really when you're calling the dispatch center here, there's someone trained on the other end that possibly could save a life," he said.
It's likely more cities will have combined dispatch centers like this one. Ohio law mandates that be done by the year 2018 or counties could lose significant 911 funding from the state.
Presently, there are four dispatchers on duty per shift, but the center could have up to 12. And, that means that as many as five additional cities could be dispatching out of this center.