To err is human, and that’s what I’ve done. Lake County's attorney, John Dull, pointed out in an email to me Monday that I was wrong in suggesting he is “passing the buck” by his seeking to have communities throughout the county sign an interlocal agreement facilitating consolidation of 911 services. He cites a part of the state’s 911 statute to argue such an agreement is essential.
I conferred with Times Staff Writer Bill Dolan, who has covered this issue. He agreed Dull is right in his reading of the legislative mandate. Therefore, I owe an apology to counselor Dull.
But, at the same time, I continue to ponder the inaction of the County Council. They have been given a mandate to consolidate 911 services. They appointed a committee of knowledgeable police and fire officials to advise them, but seem to be ignoring the recommendations of these advisors and appear to be trying to find a way to ignore the mandate.
I suspect politics comes into play, especially over the suggestion, from police and fire officials asked to advise county officials, that two 911 centers are needed in the county. Why not ask Porter County to serve as a backup in case of a problem with Lake County’s system?
I understand the angst over spending some $30 million to get the operation up and running. Perhaps there are alternatives yet to be explored that can trim that estimated cost.
Even so, the county has been given an order by the state Legislature. The council needs to suck it up and do as required – consolidate the county’s 18 separate 911 centers. The time for typical Lake County government game playing is over.
William Nangle is executive editor of The Times. He can be reached at The Times, 601 45th St., Munster, IN 46321 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.