Lake County regroups to move forward on E-911 call center consolidation
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent March 3, 2013 10:45PM
Updated: March 3, 2013 11:00PM
Recent turmoil surrounding the county’s plans to consolidate emergency call centers has frustrated members of the Lake County Public Safety Communications Commissions and is challenging county officials to come together on the best way to complete the state-ordered consolidation by Dec. 31, 2014.
The abrupt resignation of Jeff Cicillian, director of the consolidation process, on Thursday left officials scrambling to set up a plan for potential problems that may arise with the various emergency call center systems in the county while they conduct a search for a new director.
Just how the county will handle any problems that occur in Cicillian’s absence was put to the test Friday when a technical problem with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department dispatch system was reported. Lake County Board of Commissioners member Gerry Scheub, who sits on the E-911 commission, said a decision was made Thursday to tap the Lake County Emergency Management Agency for assistance.
“The 911 system did not go down at all. We responded to one call so far,” Scheub said.
Scheub said all Lake County cities and towns have been informed to contact Jodi Richmond and Elijah Cole with Lake County Emergency Management if there is a communications problem, and EMA will work with AT&T to resolve any issues.
He said the county and the E-911 commission will meet in executive session this week to discuss how to proceed with filling Cicillian’s position. If the arrangement with the Emergency Management Agency and AT&T proves to be effective, officials could opt to wait until it is time to hire an E-911 director to manage the consolidated emergency call center. The commission plans to conduct a nationwide search for the director’s position.
“We’ll have to see how it goes through Wednesday. We may just leave it with Emergency Management right now. We’re very satisfied with what’s happening,” Scheub, D-Crown Point, said.
In an executive session on Thursday, members of the Lake County Council and Board of Commissioners worked through staffing issues related to the countywide interlocal agreement necessary for the E-911 consolidation as well as the interlocal for the town of Lowell dispatch center to consolidate with the county’s in a pilot program.
“We are on the right track ... Everybody is pretty positive now,” Scheub said.
Lake County Councilman Eldon Strong, R-Crown Point, who was among the county council members against signing the two interlocals in their current form, said progress was made at the executive session, but he declined to go into details.
Strong said county officials are on the same page now regarding the documents and how to proceed.
“We are going to move forward in a positive manner,” he said.