Questions remain about 911Published 9:30am Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Although the immediate controversy over the 911 center’s split and re-merger with Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office was averted, many questions remain and the prosecutor should help provide the answers now rather than when the next crisis occurs.
The issue began a few weeks ago when the Lawrence County Commissioners voted to remove 911 from Sheriff Jeff Lawless’ authority less than one year after it was merged. At that point auditor Jason Stephens asked for a legal opinion about whether or not the commission had that authority.
The Ohio Revised Code certainly leaves room for interpretation and could be construed as saying that once the sheriff operates it he must continue to do so.
However, other portions of the code may outline something different, with much hinging in exactly the way the center was established in the first place.
One week later when the commissioners had a 180-degree turnaround Stephens told prosecutor Brigham Anderson it was no longer necessary.
We urge Anderson to reconsider and continue the research into exactly how the 911 center was established and what portion of the Ohio Revised Code applies. This controversy may have been averted but budget woes for the county and for the combined operations of the sheriff’s office, the jail and the 911 center certainly have not.
It is not unreasonable to think that this issue could resurface again in the near future. Having this information now can go a long way toward preventing mistakes and ill advised decisions.