Chagrin Valley, Hillcrest Heights’ 100-plus staffers dispatch for 30 agencies
BEDFORD, Ohio (PRWEB) July 18, 2018
When Ohio state lawmakers passed a bill in 2013 mandating consolidation of 48 Cuyahoga County dispatch centers into just five, law enforcement leaders knew they’d have to work some magic to get 59 jurisdictions within Cuyahoga County talking to one another.
Five years later, the reorganization continues, but 30 agencies are now dispatched through two suburban Cleveland centers that rely on cloud-based Aladtec scheduling and workforce management software to streamline staffing and communications with more than 100 employees.
Nick DiCicco, the administrator at Chagrin Valley Dispatch Center in Bedford and Hillcrest Heights Communications Center in Cleveland Heights, said scheduling dozens of dispatchers and support personnel for 24/7 coverage was a real challenge before manager Lisa Davet suggested Aladtec.
DiCicco spent 25 years working as a dispatcher, firefighter, paramedic, police officer, and police administrator before he assumed responsibility for setting up two regional dispatch centers in Cuyahoga County. The county is Ohio’s second most populous, home to about 1.3 million people.
“Our biggest hang-up was, we were doing the schedule the old-fashioned way with just a fancy Excel spreadsheet,” said DiCicco, who also did IT administration and wrote programs when he served with the Orange (OH) Police Dept. “ We were missing open shifts. Lisa's father happens to be a career fireman and (his department) was using Aladtec.”
In a word, DiCicco describes the Aladtec tools as “fantastic.”
“The employees can trade with each other and (submit) time-off requests from their smartphones. It automated processes for us, so they no longer had to be done by hand,” he said.
One feature DiCicco uses frequently is Aladtec’s Find Coverage Alert. When a supervisor needs to fill an open shift, he or she types a quick note to staff who are qualified and unscheduled, and each receives an e-mail or text message, inviting them to respond. Managers can then approve or deny the response from a smartphone, tablet or desktop with internet access.
“They love the ability to do the swapping,” said DiCicco, explaining that both centers operate with “platoons” of five- to eight dispatchers, scheduled in eight- or 12-hour shifts. Work rules only allow one employee per shift to request time off, “so when someone beats them to the punch whether (through) seniority or some other reason, they love the ability to trade. 'Hey. I'm looking for a swap. Anybody interested?' So that's huge,” he said.
Davet said Aladtec’s Forms tool has allowed the centers to go “completely paperless.” She’s developed a “Supervisor Daily Activity Report” upon which shift leaders record “anything that the next shift would need to know — any personnel issues, apparatus issues, what apparatus is in-service for a particular city for that day, any calls that may come back that Nick and I would need to know about …homicides, anything like that.”
Davet has created e-forms through which employees report overtime, part-time hour, and any other deviation from their scheduled hours. “I don’t have stacks of cards sitting on my desk as I process them.” She also built a “Records Request” form to document requests to the dispatch centers from any member departments, media, prosecutors, etc. “That’s helped tremendously.” Previously, all that resided “in a big notebook!”
DiCicco is enthused by the success Chagrin Valley and Heights Hillcrest have achieved drawing so many agencies under their dispatch umbrella. The consolidations have reduced agency response times because calls are no longer being transferred to any secondary dispatch centers, as once happened when all calls were fielded at the county level.
Bundling dispatch for multiple agencies under one roof will also help Chagrin Valley, and Heights Hillcrest receive a share of fees cell-phone subscribers pay each month under state law.
“What that's going to allow us to do now is hopefully get roughly $2 million a year from that wireless 911 fund and use it for personnel, equipment,” he said.
All member agencies will benefit through the dispatch centers’ ability “to have all the latest and greatest technology. Now that we have 30 agencies, when you buy a $100,000 recorder, it's pennies on the dollar for each of the members because they all split it, equally.”
“There are pros and cons to regionalization. I'm not going to lie to you. The time of Mrs. Smith calling and you know that her husband just died, that she has three grandkids and you know their names and what schools they go to — that's out the window,” said DiCicco. But “with the (new) technology, you know where they're calling from. And when all hell's breaking loose, you've got eight or nine people behind you that can help with the workload versus that single dispatcher.”
Fifteen other agencies within a few miles of Chagrin Valley and Heights Hillcrest dispatch centers also use Aladtec as their scheduling and workforce management platform.
Fire departments include Village of Northfield, Macedonia, Valley View, Highland Hills, Twinsburg, Independence, Village of Woodmere, Cuyahoga Heights, Broadview Heights, Bainbridge Township, and Chester Township. Other members include Richfield Police and Fire, Bath Township Police and Fire, Hudson EMS, and the Chagrin Falls Police Department.
For more information, visit http://www.Aladtec.com, or call 888-749-5550.
For the original version on PRWeb visit: https://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/07/prweb15627182.htm