POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Even before Thursday’s Commissioners’ meeting started, Mahoning County’s sheriff and Poland Trustee Eric Ungaro were out in the hallway discussing the township’s recent problems with 911.
Inside, trustees asked the board for help combining call-taking and dispatching services under one roof, saying it’s what their residents want.
“We’re just the first line of defense. We’re the lowest form of government. We’re nothing but we take those calls,” Ungaro said.
Right now, all of those calls for Poland village and township are answered at the Boardman Dispatch Center, but calls requiring the fire department or EMS are transferred to Austintown, whose employees are trained in emergency medical dispatch.
911 is run by a council of governments between Boardman, Austintown and Mahoning County. All three entities share the costs and the call load is split between the two townships.
Sheriff Jerry Greene said the eventual goal is one unified system.
“It’s certainly something that we want to work towards since the inception of this cog. That is our goal 100 percent,” Greene said.
Getting there will mean hiring and training additional staff at a time when finding new employees isn’t easy.
“We just don’t want it to fall by the wayside. We just want to do what we should as a board of trustees, to make sure we explore every option” Ungaro said.
For now, as those running the 911 system work on possible solutions, trustees hope to see some progress when the Council of Governments meets again in a month.