"The problem at last weeks meeting is that the word no never showed up, it's showing up today. No. This is staying in the hands of the commissioners," said Steuben County Commissioner, James Crowl.
He made himself clear that no changes will be made to the 911 dispatch center. After addressing a full crowd about the lack of leadership and staffing, Head Commissioner Ronald Smith doesn’t see a need to hand over ownership to the Sheriff’s Department.
"If there is reason for change we will be able and will make that change. At this point in time we do not perceive it as such," said Smith.
While Commissioners’ don’t want to hand over the dispatch center, they do agree that help from the Sheriff and his department would be valuable to operations.
"The partnering has to be. Just due to the fact that it’s our very nature and we are law enforcement and we depend on that e-911 system," said Sheriff Tim Troyer.
Troyer will help dispatch by offering four of his qualified officers to fill in when needed. But he still has concerns. During last weeks meeting Smith told WFFT that staffing was not an issue and there was an employee for every shift. Sheriff Troyer said during Monday’s meeting an employee worked 24 hours straight on Wednesday March 12. Two days after Smith made that statement.
WFFT reached out to the former Sheriff of Steuben County Mike McClelland who used to manage the dispatch center over his 16 year career as Steuben County Sheriff.
"I can’t recall one time that I was with a bunch of fireman someplace or police that they remind me, I should have never given up dispatch," said McClelland.
He says operations were smoother and problems got solved very quickly. He offers his own opinion to this dispatch dispute.
"The obvious resolution to this problem is to give it back to the Sheriff. Commissioners’ don’t have the emergency services background. They need to just do the right thing."
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