Delphos Police Department lobby to close Monday
Saturday, June 28, 2014 12:00 AM
DELPHOS — On Monday, Delphos residents will notice a change at the Delphos Police Department. Dispatching will be moved to the Allen County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch Center at 10 a.m. and at 4 p.m., the lobby door will be locked to the public.
“There won’t be any access to the lobby until we get the two new part-time clerks trained,” Police Chief Kyle Fittro said Friday. “Once we get those people in the chairs, the lobby will be open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.”
Eliminating the dispatchers at the station will save the city nearly $40,000 this year and approximately $110,000 per year beginning in 2015. Delphos City Council officially approved a separation agreement for dispatchers earlier this month.
Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish explained the way the dispatching from a Delphos resident on the Allen County side would work.
“The call will come in and we will directly dispatch it to the police or fire and rescue departments,” he said. “Actually, it will eliminate a small amount of lag time. Those calls come in to us now and we transfer them to Delphos and then they dispatch the appropriate party.”
All 911 calls made from cell phones and landlines from Allen County are automatically sent to the county dispatch.
Crish said there will be issues that will have to be worked out.
“There are going to be bumps in the road,” he said. “We have not had any life-threatening problems and hopefully we won’t but there will be things that arise we’ll need to address.”
While most 911 calls from Delphos go into the Allen County center, Van Wert County 911 Coordinator Kim Brandt said her center does handle a few.
“Cell phone calls can bounce around from county to county, depending on how busy the tower is at the time of the 911 call,” Brandt said. “We have noticed that call delivery is more accurate than it was a few years ago, but there is still room for improvement.”
Fittro said the new operations policies will be difficult for some.
“We have a lot of people who come to the police station for many different reasons,” he said. “Some may be reporting a crime and others may be looking for an accident report. We went over our records for the last year and it’s a 60-40 split in favor of the person wanting to speak to an officer or detective.”
A call box will be placed on the outside of the lobby door. When the button is pushed, it will connect the person with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. Once the nature of the call is understood, an officer will be called to the station or the person will be transferred to a phone tree for the municipal building, the police department of the fire department and asked to leave a voice mail for the appropriate person.
Fittro said the call box is not in place at this time but hopes it will be installed by Monday afternoon.
“It will not be nearly as easy to get a hold of someone at the police or fire and rescue departments,” Fittro said. “While we are saving money, we are losing a whole lot of customer service.”
In the pro column along with the budget savings and quicker response, moving dispatching to Allen County will free up two officer who are now “sitting desk” and put them back out into the community.
For now, Fittro’s biggest concern is technology glitches and human error.
“The entire county is now using the MARKS radio system and I know of at least two areas in Delphos that are dead zones,” he said. “We also have several streets that share their names with ones in Lima and it could be confusing to a dispatcher that isn’t familiar with Delphos. We also take calls on occasion from people who give us landmarks instead of street names and having dispatchers who live here is helpful.”