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Cincinnati's 911 center adds additional protocols

Cincinnati Emergency Communications Center
Cincinnati Emergency Communications Center

Call-takers at Cincinnati's Emergency Communications Center are now using a national set of protocols for taking calls that require a police response. The ECC reports it is the sixth agency in Ohio to implement the Police Priority Dispatch System (PPDS).

As WVXU previously reported, the ECC implemented a similar Fire Priority Dispatch System in August. It had already been using the system for medical-related calls.

The program helps 911 call-takers identify and respond to calls that require a police department response, and do so in a structured, consistent manner. In short, it provides a framework for which questions to ask in which order to get all the important information quickly and send the correct form of help.

RELATED: Cincinnati's 911 center is implementing new call-taking protocols

"The PPDS assures everyone scene safety information is being gathered quickly on every call and appropriate instructions are provided prior to the arrival of help," says Jason Barbour, public safety specialist with Priority Dispatch Corporation, in a release. "This system ensures all callers are receiving the same level of service during their greatest time of need."

Call-takers went through training last year and have been undergoing scenario-based training for the last few months, according to ECC Director Bill Vedra.

"By expanding the protocol-based call-taking system, the ECC is fully aligned with nationally recognized standards for emergency call taking. Calls for help will be routed to responders more quickly, thanks to this system, and callers will get a higher level of care from 911 telecommunicators than ever before," he says.

The 911 center answers more than 700,000 calls per year.

The police and fire programs, combined, cost about $450,000 and were funded in the city's 2022-23 capital budget.

The ECC has been undergoing a series of reviews, training and upgrades. Part of that work is mandated by a settlement between the family of Kyle Plush and the city of Cincinnati.

The $6 million agreement included a five-year reform plan requiring Cincinnati to bring in three 911 experts to work with the ECC and allocate up to $250,000 initially for that work. The advisory panel issuedits first report in 2021.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.