Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

In the wake of recent news that 911 dispatchers in the villages of Harwood Heights, Norridge, and Schiller Park will face imminent layoffs as the towns prepare to consolidate their emergency call centers, one community is taking action to stop dispatchers from leaving their jobs. The approximately 35 dispatchers who now work in all three towns combined will be whittled to 18 to 20 dispatchers who will work in the new call center. The consolidated center is expected to open sometime next year, and all employees will have to reapply for their jobs if they wish to stay.

Three dispatchers at Norridge’s 911 call center have quit since the state-mandated consolidation was announced in March, according to Norridge Police Chief Dave Disselhorst. That prompted Norridge officials on July 13 to support a measure to offer retention bonuses to the village’s remaining 11 dispatchers. The potential bonus amount has not yet been determined.

The Harwood Heights Police Department was chosen in June by a consulting firm hired in March to conduct a feasibility study to help the towns decide where a new consolidated emergency dispatch center should go. The state’s amended Emergency Telephone Safety Act, signed into law a year ago, required all consolidation plans to be submitted by this month, and the new facilities will open by July of next year.

The law requires small towns in Cook County to merge their 911 dispatch operations with other nearby towns by reopening one joint 911 communication center to serve more than one town.

None from Harwood Heights’ team of eight dispatchers have quit since the consolidation was announced, according to Police Chief Frank Biagi, who said he was pleased Harwood Heights was recommended as the location for the new center.

“At this point, it was only recommended by our consultant that the Harwood Heights communications room would be the best place for the new dispatch center, so no final decisions have been made yet,” Biagi said. “We are very excited about being chosen as the host location, but this still needs to be discussed and approved by all of the village officials in Harwood Heights, Norridge and Schiller Park.”

Schiller Park Fire Chief Pete Chiodo wasn’t available for comment, and it was unclear whether any of the 10 dispatchers who work for the community had quit since the consolidation was announced.