This summer, Stow and Cuyahoga Falls dispatch will update their Computer-Aided Dispatch system and be able to communicate with more safety forces in Summit County.

Stow Police Chief Jeff Film is on the Computer-Aided Dispatch oversight committee, which meets monthly and sometimes weekly for work group meetings. 

"We’re going live July 28 for Stow and Cuyahoga Falls," Film said.

Stow is under contract to dispatch for Tallmadge, Mogadore and Randolph Township in Portage County. Cuyahoga Falls is under contract to dispatch for Silver Lake, Munroe Falls and Boston Heights. 

Cuyahoga Falls Police Captain Todd Shafer agreed with the July 28 date.The Summit County’s consolidated dispatch system went live Oct. 8, 2019, and included Green, Akron, the sheriff’s office and the University of Akron. 

Ian Faieta, Summit County 9-1-1 CAD administrator, said the date for rollout for everyone was July 28 but Green’s and Akron’s systems were so old, they went live early. Stow, Cuyahoga Falls and Fairlawn dispatch centers are on schedule.

The overall project cost is $4 million with the Tyler CAD software costing $3.4 million, Faieta said. Overall cost is shared across all agencies involved and varies depending on what each agency purchased and their agency size.

The University of Akron was added with its own small dispatch center on campus but is not reflected in the current numbers, and all the cost sharing numbers will be reduced, Faieta said.

As more agencies join the project the costs decreases per agency, he said. Currently Stow dispatch cost is $457,974 and Cuyahoga Falls dispatch cost is $236,506.

"To save taxpayer dollars, the county, cities and university [of Akron] purchased one consolidated CAD system with county-wide licensing, allowing for the possible use by every community in Summit County," Faieta said. "The collective cost savings of acquiring and owning the system is $5 million. The communities will save an additional $1.8 million for the first five years of maintenance of the system."

The Summit County CAD system easily integrates with other software and allows better Nex Gen 911 compliance, he said. The GIS mapping shows fire hydrant location with flow rates, road impedances for faster routing and construction projects.

The new system increases first responder safety with floor plans and structure information for firefighters, Faieta said. Police can see previous incidents and caution notes to prepare for a call. All agencies on CAD can see caution notes and historical data for assistance for entry, animal caution, previous drug abuse and more.

Stow and Cuyahoga Falls have their CAD and Records Management System tied together, Shafer said. CAD is the dispatch system and it generates an incident from a call that goes to RMS to generate reports. 

"We need both systems to go live at the same time," Shafer said. "RMS is being built or created now."

Representatives from the different safety forces in different communities meet every week to create the system for their specific needs, he said. Tyler Technologies provides the basic software but modules for booking, evidence and record keeping have to be created to fit the communities’ needs. 

"We are currently on the Enterprise software system with Kent State," Film said. "Cuyahoga Falls is on the old As400 system. There will be some changes to overhaul, but it will be a smooth transition for Stow because we’re on the same platform." 

Film added his department will be able to share information and communicate with other Summit County departments that use the same CAD system. The process is expected to decrease response time and increase efficiency.

The new system will allow police and fire with mobile systems to share information by computer and network better for responding to calls, case investigations and Be On LookOut or BOLOs, he said. It increases the ability of safety forces to solve crimes, obtain mutual aid and share information.

"We can send BOLOs directly to different departments," Film said. "It’ll make our job easier. We can share information and our goal is to get everyone on the system countywide."

Film said Stow’s hardware is in place because they bought new consoles last year. They plan to purchase ID scanners and printers for the cruisers in the future.

"It’s almost a necessity to share information and costs," Film said. "We’re very excited."

Film said along with Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis and former Stow Mayor Sara Kline, they began working on a shared CAD system six years ago.

"It became bigger and better for the county," Film said. "We started meeting at the table and more departments joined. It was a fantastic experience, and it’s exciting to see it go live."

Mayor John Pribonic said the CAD system allows the city to communicate with outlying cities.

Technology changes quickly and upgrading everyone together reduces the cost, Pribonic said.

"The CAD system brings us up to date and allows us to communicate with our officers and surrounding communities," Pribonic said. 

COG still in discussion by communities

The CAD is a software program and should not be confused with a COG or council of governments. The county can have a CAD system without a COG.

The COG involves the leaders of several communities in Summit County talking about a single central dispatch center among participating communities in the county.

"Do we need a single point dispatch for the county?" Pribonic said. "It’s in discussion phase."

One proposed site is one of the buildings owned by Summit County used by Summit DD on Howe Road in Tallmadge, but they are not scheduled to vacate the building until renovations are completed on the Cuyahoga Falls Summit DD site in 2022.  

For Stow to move its dispatch center out of the city would require a vote by the community, Pribonic said. 

"It would be an additional step we’d have to take," he said. "If a COG would be the proper thing to bring before the voters, that would happen."

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or lfreeman@recordpub.com