Delaware County Commissioners approved a five-year service agreement Monday with West Safety Solutions Corporation to provide Text-to-911 service to the county’s 911 Center.
“As part of our levy campaign back last year we said we were going to try to bring Text-to-911 to Delaware County,” said Patrick Brandt, Emergency Communications director. “This will be phase one of getting that done.”
Brandt said, according to Delaware County Speech and Hearing, that approximately 10 percent of the county’s population has a hearing impairment or some type of communications issue.
“The goal is always call if you can, but text if you can’t,” Brandt said. “We always want two-way communication but you have to look out for the hearing impaired people who need this technology. It’s to their benefit to get hold of us quickly.”
He said the goal is to have Text-to-911 live “by the end of the year, close to November.”
Brandt said the county is working with Columbus so the county is fully served and to eliminate any confusion. The northern parts of Columbus, Dublin and Westerville overlap into southern Delaware County and are served by Franklin County’s 911.
“If we did get a call miss routed to us that is in the City of Columbus we can transfer that text caller down to Columbus and they can handle it,” he said. “Instead of tying up our dispatchers on it.”
Brandt said Columbus has been supportive in the project.
“What do you think, five years from now, the texting percentage of your calls will be?” asked Commissioner Jeff Benton.
Brandt said he had been to a recent state conference where Butler County reported receiving just less than 700 text calls last year.
“They’ve had it in place for three years now,” he said. “The population is over 100,000 more than us.”
Brandt said he didn’t think the center would receive nearly that many Text-to-911 calls.
In other business, commissioners heard from Ferzan Ahmed, county administrator, that he and Jon Melvin, facilities director, had taken a tour of the courthouse Friday.
“A lot of work going on,” Ahmed said. “First floor has tiles in place, you can actually see what the finished corridors are going to look like and the bathrooms. Fifth floor doesn’t have drywall yet. So there is still a lot of work to be done.”
However, Ahmed said they were still looking for the completion of the building by the end of July.
Melvin said the completion date had to be extended from June to the end of July.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.