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Wood County departments must share dispatch or lose money

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WOOD COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A new state mandate is forcing big changes in Wood County. Local police departments must regionalize their dispatch services or lose thousands of dollars.

Currently, there are eight public safety answering points in Wood County. By 2018, only three will be allowed, which is why several northern Wood County police departments are sharing dispatch services.

Lake Township already dispatches for Rossford, Walbridge and Millbury.

Now, a state mandate says if a county exceeds the allowable number of 911 public safety answering points, state funding will be reduced by 50 percent until the county complies with the new rules. For Wood County, that means trimming five dispatch centers over the next few years. 

Less 911 answering points could potentially reduce the need to transfer misrouted cell phone calls between jurisdictions, not to mention save money by consolidating services.

"We're all trying to do less with more, and this is one way we can have better communication, minimize our costs, and protect our citizens in a better fashion," explained Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer.

No decision has been made yet about which centers will merge in the county. A council will be formed between northern jurisdictions to determine the best way to make the changes.

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