Hudson -- The fate of Hudson dispatch will wait at least six months as the city researches options.

City Manager Jane Howington said at the Dec. 6 Council meeting for the last number of months the city has been working with Council, staff and other communities to look at possibilities and of joining with other area dispatch operations.

"It is the consensus of staff and Council that this is a very complex, and a very delicate issue that needs to be studied further before we make any commitments one way or another," Howington said.

During budget talks for the police department in October, new dispatch requirements were mentioned such as the New Generation 911, but Council postponed discussing the issue until after the budget was approved, which is expected Dec. 20.

"There are many external factors that are impacting the reason why this is being hoisted upon us in a way," Howington said. "Before we jump into making a decision, we need to spend time studying it and what is best for the citizenry, dispatchers and staff."

Howington said the city and Council will wait to make any commitment or decision for six months while a team headed by Police Chief David Robbins examines best practices, what is going on with technology and what other communities are doing before reporting back to Council.

"There is a lot of concern," Howington said. "A lot of people have lives impacted by this."

On Nov. 15 during the last City Council meeting, Hudson Public Safety Dispatcher Krista Roch spoke on behalf of the Public Safety Dispatchers who provide dispatching services to the Hudson police, EMS and fire departments.

In the past year the city and Council have talked about regionalizing the dispatch services with another city in the form of a Council of Governments.

Although Roch said the dispatchers felt their employment was important to the city and Council, they realized they may not remain employees of the city of Hudson if a regional dispatch is created.

"We each pride ourselves on our work, which includes providing a level of customer service that we feel exceeds that offered by some of our neighboring cities," Roch said. "However, these efforts can only be supported if we remain within the employ of the city of Hudson."

One of the regionalization propositions could be a Council of Governments that involves the cities of Cuyahoga Falls, Stow and Tallmadge and could be responsible for at least 12 different jurisdictions.

"Response times will increase," Roch said.

Dispatchers would not be able to develop any specialized knowledge of jurisdictional areas served, she added.

"Public Safety is a non-profitable, but an essential function for any city," Roch said.

Dispatch represents the city 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and assist the citizens and businesses in Hudson, she said.

"The residents and employees of Hudson deserve to continue to receive the excellent level of customer service they are accustomed to one that all city employees are being encouraged to improve upon even further," Roch said.

Regionalization is not "inevitable" and state mandates and technology changes, Roch said.

"Our suspicion and fear is that regionalizing with another city will result in a lesser level of service, accompanied by a potential for additional expense to the city," she said. "We also know that if a decision is made to regionalize our dispatching services, there will be no going back. Once we are gone, we're gone."


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