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Marion Police Chief Demands Faster 911 Service from County

MARION (Tom Bosco/Kate Liebers) -- A central Ohio interim police chief said he wants to see changes in 911 response times, but his ideas have yet to be realized.

In the past, if people called 911 from a cell phone, dispatchers would struggle to determine the caller's location. In Marion County, the call would automatically go to the sheriff's dispatchers before it could be transferred to the City of Marion's dispatchers.

That transfer could take between 30 seconds to a minute and a half.

The interim Marion Police Chief Randy Caryer said it would not be difficult to provide better service. It would entail changing cell phone towers so that city calls are routed to the city.

He said he has been asking leaders to make this change for two years. There has been much debate about consolidating the city's and county's 911 services.

A partnership would change the flow of tax money.

The county currently collects a 25-cent tax on a cell phone bill for 911 services.  If the city starts taking more 911 calls, it could ask for more of that tax money.

Caryer said that is not what is driving his push for change.

"If we can provide a better service to the public at this point in time for no cost, we should be doing that," he said.

New County Commissioner Dan Russell said he would meet with the 911 board to discuss the Marion Police Department's concerns.

"I don't know that that conversation is completely over with," Russell said. "Now that I'm in here as chairman, I'd like to see those talks open up again."

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