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Sheriff: 911 facility best option


Relocating the combined 911 dispatchers to the Emergency Operations Center room at the 911’s headquarters at Park Avenue appears to be the most economically feasible answer to the newly redefined operation, according to its new boss.

“The vo-ed school could partition the room and soundproof it at minimum cost,” Sheriff Jeff Lawless told the county commissioners at their Thursday meeting. “That would still leave a huge part of the room for EOC and meetings.”

Last month the commission voted 2 to 1 to put the 911 dispatching operation under the jurisdiction of Lawless. Those dispatchers plus the sheriff’s office dispatchers will now work at the same location. Previously those operations were set up at the sheriff’s office and the front of the 911 office. Neither of those areas could accommodate additional personnel without significant changes.

The sheriff had been approached by two businessmen about downtown locations available for rent for a new headquarters. Both venues would be available on an annual lease basis for $15,000 a year each.

“I know we don’t have any funds,” Lawless said.

At the meeting, Commission President Les Boggs said the city of Ironton might have a building to donate to the county for the merged operation.

“I am not sure the city would be willing to give us a building,” Lawless said after the meeting. “I will talk to Mayor (Rich) Blankenship about that.”

Besides finding a new location for the operation, Lawless must explore how to combine the dispatchers who belong to two separate unions: the Fraternal Order of Police and the Teamsters.

“I am trying to get with both unions and see what issues we face,” the sheriff told the commissioners. “Everything is moving smoothly.”

Also at the meeting the commissioners declared next Thursday as Wheelin Sportsman Day at Lake Vesuvius, where the handicapped are given an opportunity to fish in the lake. The outing draws hundreds and will start at 10:30 a.m.

This is an annual event that last year was named by Ohio division of the National Wild Turkey Association as the Event of the Year. Sponsors for 2012 include the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee, the Lawrence County Bass Club, City National Bank, the Wayne National Forest, Collins Career Center and the Symmes Valley Future Farmers of America.

In other action, the commissioners:

• Approved tie down lease agreements with Thomas Riley and John Krstenansky at the Lawrence County Airpark for $324 each;

• Awarded the bid for material to Superior Steel for the County Engineer’s Office;

• Announced that the commission will have its April 26 meeting at the Burlington Common Park at 6 p.m. as part of the Concerned Citizens of Burlington meeting.