Cruisers in the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office will be outfitted soon with electronic devices that will show their location to emergency dispatchers.
The automatic vehicle locators, with the new digital mapping at the county 911 center, should be made available for all police departments that use the emergency dispatching operation.
The devices give dispatchers real-time displays on the vehicles, allowing them to efficiently dispatch officers nearest the current call for service.
Nearly every police department in Trumbull County uses the 911 center. Eventually, the last independent call centers - even Niles and Warren, which are the county's backups - should also switch over to the county system. A neighboring county could then serve as a backup.
If every department equipped their cruisers with the electronic locators and every community signed on to a mutual aid agreement, then dispatchers could always send officers closest to calls. This would reduce the amount of time it takes police to arrive at emergencies because often an officer in a neighboring community is nearer the scene than the officer in the community where the call originated.
The display also would show if a vehicle was already on a call. So in cases where the closest cruiser is not available, the dispatcher could, without delay, find the next-closest officer.
Trumbull County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Ernest Cook also points out that this would save on gas consumption.
County commissioners approved purchasing 27 devices for $38,721. That's less than $1,500 per vehicle. That does not sound like a lot of money for local communities to invest for the safety of their residents and law enforcers.