Excerpts from the OakLawnLeaf.com:

A Lake County municipality is “rethinking” an idea to move forward with controversial plans to close the village’s 911 emergency communications center and to outsource the services to a county group in light of opposition from community members and the problems experienced in other outsourcing such as the Village of Oak Lawn’s decision to privatize the services.

Village of Wauconda Trustees voted last Tuesday to table the move to the county group known as CenCom stating that there were too many questions and that it was too soon to vote. Mayor Frank Bart, who was elected two years ago, has pledged to close the 911 center and outsource the services to CenCom, which dispatches for 11 police and fire departments in Lake County. Bart has claimed that the move would save the village $300,000 a year.

However, opponents have pointed to the Village of Oak Lawn’s decision to outsource the services previously provided by union dispatchers in favor of a private company. “That decision was a disaster and I would be lying if I said we weren’t aware of those problems,” said a high ranking Wauconda village official who asked not to be identified.

Oak Lawn’s Village Manager Larry Deetjen had argued that his village would save money without affecting public safety when he recommended the privatization in Oak Lawn. Since that time, the village has had four directors of the center and been victimized by complaints from firemen, police officers and the public because of mistakes.

Wauconda’s administrator is admitting that the dispatchers would lose their jobs but said they would receive preferential consideration for the new jobs. A similar promise by Deetjen resulted in only a handful of the dispatchers being hired by the private company. Of those hired, half resigned shortly thereafter in light of the way the operations were handled. One dispatcher wrote a letter to the board detailing problems and to Mayor Sandra Bury [who] dismissed the letter as anonymous but also dismissed the complaints after the dispatcher came forward. The village never investigated any of the claims, including the statement that dispatchers were told to destroy complaints that were being made by police officers and firefighters.

Several glaring mistakes have resulted in headlines that have been reportedly noticed even in Wauconda. Hundreds of complaints have been made by public safety officers regarding dispatchers failing to send the right information to the police officers and firemen.


911 records reviewed by the Oak Lawn Leaf, after a legal tug of war that included the Attorney General of Illinois ruling that a 911 video should be released, showed a 6 to 7 minute delay in sending any ambulances to the fatal car accident killing two Roman Catholic Nuns at 95th and Cicero.

To make matters worse, the promised savings in Oak Lawn have not added up as promised with the union representing the dispatchers suing the village and later accepting a cash settlement. When Oak Lawn trustees voted 4-2 to privatize the services, the board ignored the threat of legal action and pleas from several 911 emergency operators and the wife of a police officer.

Oak Lawn Trustee Robert Streit, who along with former Trustee Carol Quinlan were the only votes against the privatization, noted that the village residents depend on professional service from its firemen and police officers. He said the 9-1-1 operators were the people behind the scenes that make sure the ambulance that residents call gets to the right address in a timely manner and assures police officers that a back up squad is on its way during a robbery.

He said that he is happy to hear that the Wauconda trustees are taking a hard look at the issue rather than blindly following the village manager’s suggestion. He said that he wishes Oak Lawn was not seen as an example of a bad decision but perhaps the mistake can be avoided elsewhere.

thanks Dan

More on this HERE

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