I would like to make my point very clear. I truly support government consolidation if there is a cost savings without reducing essential services. We have been doing this in Crown Point under my administration since 2008, which has resulted in saving millions to our community. We have accomplished that savings without needing mandates from the state of Indiana. It's just good government.
With the current E-911 merger mandate in place in its present form (HB Bill 1204 and SB 359) it doesn't accomplish the goal to provide same or better service for less money as advertised. There is no savings to the taxpayer, and the current surcharges generated from the land-based and cellular phones are not enough to support the above plan without raising user fees.
That assessment is true in several of the counties that have already implemented this mandated law by the state. You don't have to look too far from Lake County to see that Porter County has the very same issues and shortcomings I mentioned.
The Times' editorial has mentioned a "turf battle" when it comes us not wanting to give up our center, that is a stereotype and is not fair.
I will forgo the argument regarding service for now. I will address a financial point that hits home to our Lake County taxpayers, and that is the funding of E-911. The legislator leading the mission of this change, state Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Wheatfield, is quoted as saying, "We'll be forced to come back and revisit the issue in the coming years to make sure we got it right. Our shared intent is to have a strong 911 system with sufficient funding."
The senator openly admits there are problems that need to be addressed. We should just consolidate for the sake of just getting it done whether it's sustainable or not?
The Times pondered what if there is a car chase in multiple jurisdictions, but having a single dispatch center doesn't make that scenario more efficient. As a former police officer, that essential communication with other jurisdictions and officers is already in place since 1977, through the Indiana Law Enforcement Emergency Network. This is direct radio communication with troopers, officers from local police and sheriff departments.
Our position in Crown Point is not protecting "our turf" as was described, but simply protecting the communities on more than a "we will get it right later" approach, especially when you don't get a "do over" in dealing with public safety. The conversation of a lawsuit has gotten the attention and interaction of elected officials (state and local), the media, and especially the taxpayers on a law that was to intended to improve communications. How ironic.
David Uran is Crown Point's mayor. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.