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Norwood to hand off emergency communications duties to Hamilton County

Posted at 11:11 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 11:41:01-05

NORWOOD, Ohio — Norwood City Council held a special meeting Monday night to discuss the future of the city’s emergency communications, as it has been decided to be transferred to Hamilton County.

Currently, Norwood’s communications system handles fire, police and medical emergency calls, as well as warrant and clerk-ordered services.

“They don’t have the people to throw at an emergency, should we have a major emergency,” Norwood Fire Chief Thomas McCabe said about Hamilton County.

Norwood Mayor Victor Schneider put forth a decision to switch control of the Emergency Communications Center to Hamilton County.

Members of Norwood’s City Council asked current Hamilton County Communications Director Andrew Knapp if the change would increase run times, and he indicated that it would not.

For Hamilton County Communications, adding Norwood to the list of 47 municipalities it’s already responsible for is a numbers game.

Knapp said that in 2019, the Norwood Communications Center cost taxpayers $42 per call. He said that moving emergency communications to county control would come at a savings of nearly 800%, or $5 per call, as well as a big boost in technology and resources.

“We have an aging CAD system,” McCabe said. CAD stands for Computer-aided Dispatch, which is used by emergency responders and dispatchers. “The company that provides services for our CAD system will not service it.”

The potential move was met with backlash from some members of Norwood City Council.

Multiple members of the city council said they weren’t made aware of the switch, until recently. Many expressed anger that public discussions on the matter weren’t held and that current Norwood Communications Center employees were not on hand to speak at the special meeting.

Mayor Schneider said he took it upon himself to make the decision for the whole city. City Council won’t be able to vote on the issue, but many said it will be addressed at Tuesday’s full council meeting.