CROWN POINT | The City Council on Monday unanimously backed a call to merge E-911 services into a single Lake County network.
The Crown Point Council's 7-0 vote in favor of an interlocal agreement for consolidation came at the urging of Mayor David Uran, who said last week he supports a merged system.
Uran said Monday he'd initially opposed the move but was pleased with the outcome of months of work in creating the agreement.
"I'm also comfortable with how the operating system and how the dispatching will take place," said Uran, a former police officer.
Mayors Thomas McDermott Jr., of Hammond, Anthony Copeland, of East Chicago, and Keith Soderquist, of Lake Station, already have thrown their support behind the effort to link 17 police and fire communications facilities into a single county service by the end of 2014, as mandated by state law.
Council members sought assurances Monday the merged system would deliver the same level of service already in place in the city.
"Part of the concern is will dispatch be handled as efficiently as it is at the local level?" Councilwoman Laura Sauerman, R-4th asked.
Councilmen Mark Schweitzer, R-at large, said he initially had opposed the merger but has since changed his mind.
Dual layers of call handling by the merged center, "is especially important for firefighters," said Schweitzer, who is a volunteer firefighter in Crown Point.
Munster Police Chief Steve Scheckel, speaking on behalf of the E-911 consolidation committee, said the system will make possible the exhange of information among communities.
"Its interoperability is the key," Scheckel said. "We're headed into the 21st century, and this is part of it."