The New Franklin City Council approved a resolution Nov. 3 to apply for membership in the Southwest Summit of Governments (SWSCOG).

The New Franklin City Council approved a resolution Nov. 3 to apply for membership in the Southwest Summit of Governments (SWSCOG). This would allow a future participation in the Southwest Summit Communications (SWSCOM) Public Safety Dispatch Center.

Mayor Al Bollas explained that New Franklin has been considering membership for several years. He said that with the state mandate that each county in Ohio must have a central dispatch system, the timing for collaboration is right. The centers are called Public Safety Answering System Points (PSAPs).

“Dispatch in Ohio is changing,” Bollas said. “The new 911 system requires equipment we can't afford.”

In 2012, Barberton, Norton and Copley Township created a the regional council of governments for the purpose of sharing services. The dispatch center located at Norton Fire Station 13, opened in January 2014. The center uses the county's 800 MHz radio system and advanced technology. The centralization of the dispatch system is designed to save response time and costs.

Council will wait to learn if the city is approved for membership. If approved, the city officials will investigate the shared services available to New Franklin. Those services deemed necessary to the city’s operations will then be presented to council for approval.

New Franklin Fire Chief Steve Leslie explained that starting in January 2016, all calls from wireless and land line phones will come into the SWSCOM center. Only 911 emergency calls would be dispatched from SWSCOM to New Franklin as they occur.

Leslie explained that the current New Franklin dispatch employees could be offered jobs at the central dispatch center, but it’s unclear what would happen to those positions if and when the city transitions to the new dispatch system.

Bollas said there would be a fee for the central dispatch service, which would be negotiated. If New Franklin were a member of SWSCOG, it would be an equal partner and have an equal vote in the negotiation process, according to Susan Cooke, New Franklin city finance director.