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Officials celebrate work at new 911 center

Porter County officials and other VIPs pose for the groundbreaking at the old Porter County jail. It's being converted to a county facility including a new 911 center.

VALPARAISO — Porter County Director of Communications Robert Lanchsweerdt submitted his resignation Aug. 8 to the Porter County commissioners. Lanchsweerdt, a retired South Bend police officer, oversaw Porter County Central Communications 911 for the past two years.

County Commissioners Jim Biggs, R-North; Laura Blaney, D-South; and Jeff Good, R-Center confirmed Lanchsweerdt submitted a resignation letter. His last day will be Sept. 13. 

"My understanding is he's leaving to pursue law enforcement, which is his background as well as his passion," Blaney said. "He's leaving in good standing."

Biggs said the resignation was a surprise, but that historically in Porter County, "we haven't had a lot of luck with keeping people." He said they have generally chosen people with law enforcement or fire rescue backgrounds.

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"I think we're going to break from that tradition and look for somebody who's more career-minded, to stay in this particular area," Biggs said. "We believe that this is a great opportunity for somebody who is wanting to put the time in and take ... a good agency and make it even better."

In January, former Porter County Director of Public Safety Mike Brickner resigned after 18 months. He oversaw the county's 911 and emergency management departments and also left to pursue other opportunities.

Brickner, who served as Valparaiso's police chief for 13 years, also surprised the commissioners with his resignation.

The job posting for '911 Executive Director' has been listed on the county's website since Friday. Good said they are already pursuing Lanchsweerdt's replacement and will announce when the position is filled. Interested people reached out to the commissioners, Biggs said, before the position was even posted online.

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Porter County General Assignment Reporter

Emily covers Porter County news and features for The Times. A transplant from NW Ohio to NWI, Emily loves talking to people and hearing their stories. She graduated from the University of Toledo in 2018 and believes all dogs are good dogs.