Time to Talk

THE BELMONT County 911 system is all about communication. It appears improved communication between 911 dispatchers and the sheriff’s department is needed to help resolve a simmering dispute.

The two sides met again Monday along with county commissioners in an attempt to iron out differences on who would be best to operate the emergency system.

Belmont County Sheriff Fred Thompson is seeking to have his department take over operations of the 911 system.

We don’t believe such a drastic change is needed or would it prove beneficial.

911 Director Robyn Marshall is well qualified to oversee the workings of the system as well as its dispatchers. We are of the belief that the 911 staff takes its 24/7 responsibilities quite seriously and has received expert training to effectively carry out those duties.

Sheriff Thompson notes of an occasional dispatching speed bump where his deputies have been sent to a situation where they were not needed. While that may be unfortunate, there are no guarantees the same would not take place if the system was under the sheriff’s department’s jurisdiction.

The sheriff’s department already has enough on its law and order plate. Taking on dispatching duties is a burden they need not assume.

It would have made more sense and obviously better protocol if Sheriff Thompson would have approached Marshall for a meeting to iron out any dispatching problems. Instead, he opted to seek out the county commissioners in an attempt to gain 911 dispatching control.

We view that as a breakdown of communication and a failure of being a team player.

The current Belmont County 911 dispatching system is conducting its duties in professional fashion. Improved lines of communication between it and the sheriff’s department will only enhance it.