Community pushes against relocation of emergency responders

By Alayna Press, ‘17

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In February, the City of Upper Arlington began negotiations to consolidate the Upper Arlington Police and Fire departments with the Columbus Departments, and members of the community are rallying against the relocation due to safety concerns.

According to the City of Upper Arlington website, relocation would save approximately $600,000, and the dispatch center could afford newer technology. In addition, cellular calls must be transferred to UA from Columbus already.

Some community members, however, disagree with the relocation. Former UA dispatcher Charlie Reed founded a group for residents against the consolidation in late June. The group, ‘Save UA 911,’ has a website with a petition against the relocation which has collected over 500 signatures.

The City of UA has been considering consolidating the departments since 2010, although the community was not informed of it until earlier this year. According to the Save UA 911 website, residents are unhappy with the timing of the announcement.

The city recently addressed concerns on its website by assuring the community that the consolidation would not affect response time of emergency dispatchers.

However, a letter posted to the Save UA 911 website written by retired UA Police Officer Brian S. Young said, “Maybe it won’t make much difference when it comes to cellular 911 calls. Most of the calls they receive on a daily basis are more routine in nature… The time required to dispatch these calls will most definitely increase.”

He also thinks that the Upper Arlington Police Officers have a familiarity with the community that is important to their response time.

The City of Upper Arlington has continued to push for the merge. According to an article by 10TV, on July 27, Assistant City Manager Dan Ralley told the Streets Department to remove any yard signs that were in the public right of way. Residents protested and requested the return of their yard signs, but were only given back a few of the total 600.

The final decision is estimated to take place by the end of the year.