East Cleveland Turns Over Emergency Dispatch To Cuyahoga County

An East Cleveland police officer directs traffic at a broken stoplight in 2015.
An East Cleveland police officer directs traffic at a broken stoplight in 2015. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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Cuyahoga County is taking over East Cleveland’s emergency dispatch system, continuing the county’s years-long effort to consolidate 911 call taking.

County council signed off this week on the plan, which East Cleveland City Council approved last year.

Under the deal, county staff at the emergency communications office in Bedford will answer all East Cleveland 911 calls and dispatch police officers and firefighters. The city will pay the county $818,000 over three years, with an option to renew the contract in 2022.

The county was already answering cell phone calls from East Cleveland, but dispatch was a multi-step process, according to Fire Chief Mike Celiga. He said the county would send calls to the city’s police dispatch.

“The calls come in to the police department. They determine if it’s a fire or police matter. They will roll the fire calls over to us. We take all the information, yet again from the person calling,” Celiga said in a phone interview.

He said the deal will free up firefighters from radio dispatch duty and allow the department to respond to calls more quickly.

Despite the cost, Celiga said the deal will save the city money overall. He didn’t have a specific figure for the city’s savings. East Cleveland has been in fiscal emergency since 2012.

The county will hire three dispatchers and two part-time call takers to handle the new influx of work, county Public Safety and Justice Services Director Alex Pellom told council in February. He said there will be an exclusive posting for current East Cleveland dispatchers.  

“That way we can bring on that expertise and we can bring on that continuity with the services that are being provided,” he said.

Cuyahoga County has been consolidating city dispatch services. Pellom told county council that this latest deal will bring the number of municipal dispatch centers to 26, down from 48 in 2013.

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