The opening of Pandora's box has begun with many municipalities merging their dispatch centers. There are three areas that present great concern: safety, expense, and loss of local control.

Numbers are growing of dispatch centers that have consolidated and are now getting out. Bedford, Ohio plans to withdraw from their dispatch consolidation. There have been numerous complaints of substandard service and the Bedford Police Union filed a grievance citing problems with dangerous missed information, missed radio traffic etc.. The dispatch center failed to provide quality service and put their officers' lives at risk. Bedford's manager cited financial and operational reasons.

Lake County, Indiana had similar and more extensive complaints then Bedford. Dispatchers often were not able to locate cell phone callers who accounted for more then 70 percent of 911 calls. Street names can be confusing and the streets local names can be different from its official designation.

Wooster, Ohio just had their center hacked, losing valuable, personal information.

Governments will form an unelected council of Government (COG) which will over see the dispatch center. Stow will be relinquishing their voice, their tax dollars, and their control to an entity that has no accountability to residents.

Stow currently has an adequate dispatch center that has been built to expand if necessary, yet a proposal has been made to move our center to another location possibly requiring millions of dollars to bring it up to code.

The tax dollars the state will give to dispatch centers for merging is minimal considering the risk of loss of life, loss of local control, loss of financial and operational dollars.

It is not mandatory that Stow consolidate. The issue will not be on the ballot for you to decide. Hold your Councilmen accountable, demand Stow keep its quality dispatch service.

Mary Mumper, Stow