CROWN POINT | Lake County commissioners are formalizing employment of the new E-911 director, but delaying hiring a technology consultant for purchasing new communications infrastructure.
County Attorney John Dull said the commissioners are set to draw up a contract with Brian Hitchcock, director of E-911 services in the Quad Cities region of Iowa and Illinois, to take over consolidation of 17 police and fire communication systems into one countywide network.
The contract would ensure Hitchcock will have three years, at an annual salary of $112,000, to successfully shepherd a project that until now has been plagued by years of delay, misdirection by advisers and suspicion between the chief, who wants state-of-the-art gear, and elected officials, who have to find the money with which to buy it.
Hitchcock was hired on the strength of his 31 years of experience in military and public safety communications and his direction of three previous E-911 consolidations in other states.
Commissioner Mike Repay, D-Hammond, said the county has put on hold plans to hire a technology consultant to help choose the company from which the county will purchase millions of dollars in communications equipment.
He said commissioners, who were prepared to hire one last month, will let Hitchcock look over their list of consultant candidates to decide if he needs them.
The Public Safety Communications Commission, a 21-member board of advisers that includes police and fire chiefs and county officials, will need a new chairman.
Hobart Fire Chief Brian Taylor resigned from the board this week after quitting the Fire Department to become a Hobart police officer.
The Lake County Council earlier this week approved on first reading an ordinance that puts the advisory board in charge of a public safety department that will employ the new countywide E-911 staff.