Posts Tagged NORCOMM

Norwood Park Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

Members of the Norwood Park Fire Protection Board have opted to join the new Harwood Heights Municipal Consolidated Dispatch Center, expected to open in September, going with it over two longer-established private services.

Norridge and Schiller Park had earlier agreed to join Harwood Heights in the new center, which will be located in new space in the village’s police station, 7300 W. Wilson Ave.

The Norwood Park Fire Protection District, which is based in Harwood Heights … provides fire protection and emergency medical services to Norridge and Harwood Heights as well Norwood Park Township, responding to approximately 3,500 calls per year.

The two other 911 centers Norwood Park was considering using — The Regional Emergency Dispatch (R.E.D.) Center, based in Glenview, and Norcomm, with a 911 center at 2600 Mannheim Road in Franklin Park — are farther away. 

thanks Ron

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Oak Lawn Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

As the Village of Oak Lawn and Oak Lawn firefighters continue to battle in court over issues such as minimum manning, negotiations have reportedly not moved either side from their position and Village Manager Larry Deetjen has reportedly told trustees that other villages facing minimum manning mandates in their contract have chosen to disband their fire departments and privatize the services.

Deetjen, who masterminded the outsourcing of Oak Lawn’s union 911 dispatchers to Noncom, a private company in 2013 has threatened similar action in the past with regard to firefighting services or paramedic services. Since that time, Deetjen has made references to transitioning other municipal services to private or regional organizations.  Norcomm recently donated $1,000 to Mayor Sandra Bury.

According to one source close to the village’s negotiations, he told trustees that a community in California that had reached an impasse over the minimum manning issue, “voted to disband its department in its entirety and contract the service.” There was no indication given which community was referenced, but last year the City of San Bernardino’s city council voted 4-3 to outsource its fire services as part of a bankruptcy plan. Fire services were outsourced to San Bernardino County.

There would be no comparable service available from Cook County, for Oak Lawn to outsource to. The closest regional fire service would be the North Palos Fire Protection District, which serves Palos Hills, Worth, Hickory Hills, and parts of the nearby Cook County Forest Preserve. Joining a fire protection district would add another taxing body to Oak Lawn’s property tax bills.

Another potential option would be a private company contracted to provide fire services. Communities have shied away from this option due to legal issues surrounding mutual aid agreements between municipalities. Private service providers may not be subject to these agreements.

No public discussion has been had about this issue and no resolution of the minimum manning negotiations is expected until 2017.

thanks Dan & Dennis

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Oak Lawn Emergency Dispatch Center

The Southtown Star has an article about the 9-1-1 Center in Oak Lawn that was recently privatized:

Oak Lawn trustees Bob Streit, 3rd, and Carol Quinlan, 5th, want an independent study of the performance of emergency dispatchers since their jobs were privatized in January, but Mayor Sandra Bury has rejected the idea. The two trustees said they have heard numerous complaints from residents regarding the work of the dispatchers since Oak Lawn contracted with Norcomm to run its 911 emergency call center.

The issue of how well the dispatchers were performing arose after Norcomm vice president Michael Tillman presented a certificate to the village at the meeting, thanking Oak Lawn for “continued commitment … to achieve excellence and success in the delivery of 911 emergency dispatch services.” Since the two-year contract began Jan. 22, Norcomm and the village “have successfully dispatched more than 100,000 calls for service,” Tillman said.

Streit then tried to question Tillman but was quickly silenced by Bury, who thanked Tillman for coming and adding, “I’m sure he’s able to be called.” That irked Streit, who told Bury he was a “little disappointed at how quickly you whisked out the representative from Norcomm.

“It was obviously well-staged, that he’d present a plaque and then run out the door before he would take questions,” Streit said. “I think public safety is the most important issue we have to address as board members. Since the outsourcing of the 911 center, there have been many questions raised about the quality of service our residents have received.”

Quinlan agreed, saying that in her seven previous years on the board, she had never received complaints about the emergency call center but is hearing them now. That drew a smattering of applause from the audience at the meeting.

Streit said there have been times when personnel failed to arrive for work, when a dispatcher had to work six straight 16-hour days and then was denied a planned vacation. “That telecommunicator quit. Is the board comfortable with that because I’m not,” he said.

Moments later, Desmond outlined a laundry list of complaints that he obtained from village records regarding dispatchers, dating to before Norcomm took over the 911 center. “I was shocked by some of the violations,” Desmond said, listing issues such as delay of ambulances, taking excessive sick days, inattention to duty, neglecting to dispatch police, being rude to callers and playing video games at work, to name a few.

“You have someone whipping the public up, and the (911 center) data does not bear that out. The former dispatchers were human, the current dispatchers are human,” Bury said.

Under Oak Lawn’s contract with Norcomm to provide 911 staffing at the call center, the two-year agreement can be extended three years if both parties agree. The agreement resulted in 20 dispatchers having to reapply for their jobs. Norcomm is to provide 23 full-time dispatchers at the 911 center. Under the agreement, Oak Lawn pays Norcomm $1.99 million for the first year of service. That increases to $2 million, $2.1 million, $2.2 million and $2.3 million from years two through five of the contract.

Oak Lawn’s center also serves the Burbank, Evergreen Park, Bridgeview, Bedford Park and Central Stickney towns or fire protection districts.

thanks Dan

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Des Plaines police moving to Wheeling dispatch

The Daily Herald has an article about Des Plaines Police Department contracting with the Village of Wheeling for dispatching services. This follows the Des Plaines Fire Department moving to RED Center..

Starting next year, anyone who calls 911 for police in Des Plaines will get their call answered by someone in Wheeling — the result of a five-year contract approved by Des Plaines’ city council Monday. The move comes as Des Plaines readies to close its aging dispatch center on the second floor of city hall.

Des Plaines officials estimate they’ll save $4.1 million over the course of the five-year agreement by contracting with the village of Wheeling, which operates a dispatch center at its police department headquarters.

Des Plaines has dispatched its own police and fire calls — and handled dispatching for other local municipalities — for some 20 years. But outdated equipment and computer systems have spurred officials to decommission the city’s emergency communications center.

Police Chief Bill Kushner said major expenditures would be needed to modernize the facility, which has an increasingly failure-prone records management system that doesn’t interface consistently with the computer-aided dispatch system. There are issues with the dispatch system’s software, the radio system itself and the dispatch consoles, he said.

The dispatch center, at one time called the North Suburban Emergency Communications Center, previously handled all police and fire emergency calls for Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Niles and Morton Grove. Niles and Morton Grove left in 2012 after signing contracts for dispatching services with Glenview.

As soon as this August, Des Plaines and Park Ridge will have their fire dispatch at the Regional Emergency Dispatch Center in Northbrook. Park Ridge police calls will be answered at the West Suburban Communications Center in River Forest.

Kushner said anyone who calls 911 in Des Plaines — whether for a police or fire emergency — will first talk to a dispatcher in Wheeling. If the emergency is related to fire, the Wheeling-based dispatcher will stay on the line while the call is transferred to the RED Center in Northbrook.

Des Plaines officials say they talked with other agencies besides Wheeling. Officials from Northwest Central Dispatch in Arlington Heights and the privately held Norcomm in Leyden Township indicated Des Plaines’ call volume would be too high. Rosemont Public Safety officials were not interested. Glenview Public Safety offered attractive first-year pricing, with substantial price increases in later years, Kushner said.

Des Plaines officials estimate the city’s share of operational and capital costs at the Wheeling dispatch center will be $12.1 million over the course of the five-year agreement — $4.1 million less than if police dispatching were to remain in Des Plaines. Those costs include severance payouts to current employees, though Wheeling officials have said they plan to hire 11 dispatchers to handle Des Plaines calls, and the current Des Plaines dispatchers would get preference in hiring.

thanks Dan

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Bensenville FPD is on the site

The Bensenville Fire Protection District has been added to the Division 20 portion of the website. Bensenville has two stations although they used to have a third station which has been closed and will be demolished in the near future as part of the O’Hare Airport Expansion and Modernization Project. All of Bensenville’s rigs are pained black over red with the exception of Engine 86 which is their reserve piece. The fleet used to sport a white over red color scheme. The tanker and the tower ladder were repainted to match the new rigs.

Tanker 92, a 1988/1989 Ford Darley, won’t be on the roster much longer as the district has put it up for sale. They expect it to be gone during the summer.

In other Bensenville news, as of May 1st they are being dispatched by NORCOMM and no longer by Bloomingdale. The new frequency is 154.370.

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