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New Lake County consolidated 911 chief brings fresh perspective

Updated: March 4, 2013 6:39AM



Turnover can be a challenge but it can also bring a fresh perspective for members of the Lake County Public Safety Commission tasked with consolidating the county’s E-911 services.

Recently the commission appointed its newest member, Hobart Fire Chief Brian Taylor, as its chairman. Taylor will fill the spot held for two years by Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller, who did not run for re-election.

“Bringing new people in here, there is a learning curve to it,” Miller said of the new members who have come to the panel in the past year. Taylor joins interim Cedar Lake Police Chief Jerry Smith, who replaced former Chief Roger Patz upon his resignation.

Currently the only vacancy on the board is Gary’s, though the city sends non-voting representatives to each meeting. Other newcomers include New Chicago Fire Chief Evin Eakins, who replaced former Police Chief Tim Lucas. Griffith replaced its representative, former Police Chief Ron Kottka, with Matthew Moore. New Chicago is the only community so far in the commission to fully consolidated its E-911 services. Lowell is expected to do so in March.

Taylor has attended all the E-911 commission meetings over the past two years in part because Hobart was among one of the two sites under consideration as host cities to the consolidated E-911 center.

Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-2, said bringing new members up to speed can take a little time but should not affect how the panel moves forward. Existing members have put in a lot of time on the various committees tasked with the consolidation and those plans will continue to move forward. However, new faces can mean new ideas.

Miller agreed.

“Having a fire chief as chair is not only a new face, it’s a new perspective,” he said.

Taylor is the first voting fire professional on the panel. Taylor was appointed to the commission by the city to replace former Hobart Police Chief Jeff White, who resigned as chief effective Jan. 16.

“I feel fortunate and excited at the opportunity to be a part of the 911 consolidation, it can be a difficult and daunting task,” Taylor said. He commended Miller for the work he has done over the past two years as chair.

“The idea of police and fire working together is very important to me and I think to the county as whole. We both have a very important vested interested in public safety and obviously 911 emergency call system,” Taylor said.



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