The Village of Oak Lawn outsourced their emergency dispatch center recently.  CBS Chicago has an article which mentions complaints that have been brought to the village board.

During this week’s meeting of the Oak Lawn Village Board, trustee Bob Streit (3rd) brought up concerns about the emergency call center, citing a letter from Evergreen Park regarding concerns over “a series of incidents in the last several weeks” involving alleged poor service.

Oak Lawn’s emergency dispatchers handle calls for several communities, including Evergreen Park. The center was privatized this year in a cost-cutting move and many of the dispatchers lost their jobs. A letter from Evergreen Park attorney Michael Cainkar to dispatch center director Kathy Hansen expressed concern over responses to calls, including one about a man with a gun, information that allegedly was not included in what a dispatcher told police officers.

In the Feb. 24 letter, Cainkar said the “recent performance poses a direct threat to both public and officer safety.” Streit agreed, saying: “There’s more. This is the tip of the iceberg.”

During the board meeting, Streit said he and other board members were not told about the complaints by Village Manager Larry Deetjen and Mayor Sandra Bury. “This board is supposed to set policy, but it’s impossible to set policy when complaints and issues are hidden from the board. There is no excuse, especially when it comes to the safety of the public and our residents,” Streit said during the meeting.

Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton, however, said Thursday that he’s pleased with the new system and is certain problems will be worked out. “It’s not a big deal at this point,” Sexton said Thursday.

“Let me assure you that the men and women of our emergency dispatch center and our contractor, Norcomm, have nothing but the safety of this community at heart,” Deetjen said during the board meeting. “We handle over 100,000 calls a year (for several communities including Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park). We do an outstanding job, but we’re not perfect. We weren’t perfect before the change.” In previous years, issues were handled within the rules of a labor contract with workers in the 911 center “and it was never publicly discussed,” he said.

“Those are the facts because men and women are human. Have you ever listened to an emergency call? Often, words aren’t clear,” Deetjen said, adding “don’t let anyone up here scare or misinform you.” “If there were an increase in instances, if there were a change in patterns, we don’t see that,” Bury said. “To imply there were no mistakes with the former system … you’re seeing it made into something political and that’s really a shame.

thanks Dan