Crown Point, Lake Station mayors provide backup for E-911 merger

2013-11-27T16:25:00Z 2013-11-27T17:07:19Z Crown Point, Lake Station mayors provide backup for E-911 mergerBy Bill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
November 27, 2013 4:25 pm  • 

The Crown Point and and Lake Station mayors are joining the call to merge E-911 services into a single Lake County network.

Mayors David Uran and Keith Soderquist said Wednesday they will urge their city councils to sign the interlocal agreement to join the consolidated county emergency dispatch in the coming days.

Uran said he was convinced by Lake County E-911 Director Brian Hitchcock the county will deliver prompt public safety services to city residents as well as recent changes to the financial arrangements that should stabilize the cost of 911 emergency service. 

"We felt a lot more confident with this agreement than we did with the first draft. This isn't going to save money, but we are guaranteed that same level of commitment to the public," Uran said.

"We only have two (radio) dispatchers. Brian can put eight dispatchers on a public safety emergency and share information to the officers on the scene, which keeps our guys safe. I can buy into what they are doing."

Earlier this week, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. and East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland threw 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.

Griffith officials will take up the issue next week, and Town Councilman Rick Ryfa has predicted the agreement would likely get a favorable reading.

Tom Dabertin, a consultant for county government, said E-911 officials will meet next week with Gary, Highland, Hobart, Lowell, Merrillville and Schererville. He said he hopes the E-911 consolidation gathers momentum with these announcements.

Supporters of the new interlocal agreement were concerned over efforts by St. John officials to form a second consolidated dispatch for south Lake County police and fire departments because they felt the countywide model would be too expensive.

Schererville Town Councilman Jerry Tippy told The Times Wednesday that he still believes the St. John model of a second dispatch would be more cost effective.

County officials said they were expecting to hear as early as Wednesday from St. John officials about whether they would drop the opposition in the wake of financial concessions the county has made. St. John Town Councilman Michael Forbes declined comment on the matter until after the holiday.

The county has abandoned previous demands that cities and towns contribute tens of millions of dollars to build and equip a merged police and fire dispatch service and assist in its annual operational costs.

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101 N. East Street
Crown Point, Ind. 46307
(219) 662-3240

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Crown Point, Ind. 46307
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Crown Point, Ind. 46307
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