CROWN POINT | Municipal police and fire officials voted Thursday to base their consolidated emergency 911 dispatch call center inside the Lake County Government Complex here.

They also recommended having a secondary site inside a municipal building in East Chicago for occasional training of dispatchers and in case of an emergency that disabled the primary Crown Point site.

The public safety officials voted 9-6 to use thousands of square feet on the second floor of the county administration building at 2293 N. Main St. to install dozens of computer consoles. Communications specialists will receive hundreds of thousands of calls for assistance annually from the public and will dispatch police and firefighters.

The county will have to relocate its health department to another county building to make room for the E-911 center.

Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, argued successfully Thursday morning at a meeting of the E-911 advisory commission that the Crown Point site would be the cheapest because county government will provide the space and utilities without cost to the consolidated E-911 operation.

East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, who attended the meeting, expressed his disappointment his city's annex building at 4444 Railroad Ave. wasn't selected as the primary site but offered it as the secondary site nonetheless.

A recent contingency study indicated it would cost $3.6 million in building renovations, security measures and furnishings for an emergency communications command center and an additional $300,000 and $600,000 to buy radio communication hardware and software.

Although not all advisory board members were present for the vote, the chiefs were urged to make a decision Thursday for fear a delay might cause the county to miss the state deadline to have the consolidated site up and running by the end of 2014.

State law is mandating Lake County merge what had been 18 separate community-based police and fire radio dispatch centers into a single system. The county stands to lose millions of dollars in state subsidies if it misses the deadline.