Contributing Writer

On Saturday morning, March 22, residents of North Royalton experienced a change, although the change was not evident. That is when the complete transformation took place in the city of North Royalton’s Public Safety Dispatch and was consolidated with the city of Strongsville. The joining of the dispatch for these two cities will make a first in the southwest region of Cuyahoga County.

City Councils in both North Royalton and Strongsville unanimously adopted legislation last month that approves an agreement that incorporates the emergency dispatch services from North Royalton to Strongsville. The North Royalton legislation was introduced at the January 21 and was adopted at the February 4 City Council meeting. Strongsville’s legislation was approved on February 3. The agreement is in response to a 2012 mandate from the state of Ohio to pare down the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) by 2018.

North Royalton previously had eight full time dispatchers and three part time dispatchers on staff. There were 12 dispatchers in Strongsville. Four additional dispatchers have been hired from the North Royalton group of dispatchers to be added to the Strongsville complement, according to North Royalton Safety Director Bruce Campbell. Of the remaining North Royalton Dispatchers, five have stayed with the city and have taken the title of Clerical I on a part time basis. The city has also hired three additional employees for that position. Two of the full time Dispatchers decided not to work in that capacity and were terminated on March 24. According to Strongsville Safety Director Charles Goss, the four dispatchers came on board sequentially, according to seniority, from March 18 through the 22.

All 911 calls continue to go to the Communication Electronic Command (CECOM) center, which then directs the calls to the appropriate jurisdiction. In this case, all calls from North Royalton will now go to the Strongsville dispatch center, which is currently located on Royalton Road in Strongsville. The city will pay Strongsville $40,000 per month, totaling $480,000 for the first year, versus the $650,000+ that the city had been paying, according to Mayor Bob Stefanik.

The new agreement will not change that process and North Royalton residents will see no change when they call 911. One change they may see, depending on the call, is that the dispatcher would be trained as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) which allows them to give the caller medical instructions while they wait for emergency services to arrive. “This provides a whole new level of service to residents,” said North Royalton Police Chief John Elek.
According to the city’s website, “residents can continue to utilize the emergency number 440-237-8686 and it will be answered in Strongsville. For non-life threatening emergencies for the Fire Department residents can continue to use the 440-237-7989.” The North Royalton Police Department continues to maintain staff on duty every day, 24 hours a day, at the Police Department lobby office. The new non-emergency phone numbers to the department are as follows:
(440) 582-6216
(440) 582-6217
(440) 582-6218
(440) 582-6219
Staff will be on hand for routine police business, such as police reports, records requests and complaints.