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Lowell next community to join county dispatch consolidation

Updated: November 1, 2012 6:47AM



Lowell officials are taking the steps to see the town becomes the next community to participate in a pilot E-911 consolidation with Lake County.

Lowell Police Chief John Shelhart said the program, which is funded by a $470,000 grant, has been in the works for a number of years but not really tapped. A number of smaller departments are looking at the pilot and Lowell would like to move forward before the grant period expires.

He said the pilot consolidation will help the commission identify what goes well and what the problems will be with bringing a department into the fold and figure out the best way to do it.

“We can try and work out the nuances,” Shelhart said.

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said the first community to participate was New Chicago. The county took over the dispatch duties for New Chicago in early August. The transition went smoothly, he said.

“It’s not presenting any problems. Our plans are to take on Lowell too,” Buncich said.

The addition of New Chicago was relatively seamless due to its small size. Lowell will require a little more effort. Buncich said a couple of the Lowell employees likely will transfer to the county to help handle the calls.

“In the long run it will save Lowell money. I think it’s a step in the right direction. We need to start consolidating these communities if we can,” he said.

Phillip Kuiper, Lowell town council president, while he personally does not agree with the consolidation, there is little local officials can do now but cooperate instead of fight.

“We’re way past that,” Kuiper said.



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