Lake County Commissioners Sign E-911 Agreement
December 10, 2013 — The Lake County Board of Commissioners are advancing an effort today to comply with state law. They called a special meeting to move forward with a state mandated, county-wide consolidated police and fire dispatch.
The three-member board, led by District 1 Commissioner Roosevelt Allen, unanimously agreed that signing the interlocal agreement was a step in the right direction.
Allen exclaimed, “We’ve finally got a final version of the interlocal agreement, and we’ve been trying to produce a final version of the interlocal agreement for almost a year.
The consolidated dispatch center must be approved by 18 Lake County communities. E-911 Dispatch Executive Director Brian Hitchcock said the Lake County Council joined the commissioners in signing the agreement. Hopefully, others will too now that a sticking point regarding communities being charged individually has been resolved.
“Not all the communities agreed with all the different segments of the interlocal agreement. Some had concerns and suggestions for changes. I think that everybody has come together, and they’ve met in the middle to be able to make something that’s a little more amicable for everybody,” Hitchcock said.
Leaders from the City of Crown Point signed an initial interlocal agreement, but Commissioner Allen said the city will need to sign again. While the mayors from East Chicago and Hammond support the measure, no official support has taken place.
Commissioner Allen said by signing on now, work can commence, “It gives us the authority to start contracting with the vendors that are going to do the construction, the design and that are going to develop the radio systems that are going to be used in this consolidation.”
Allen said affected communities need to sign the interlocal agreement by the end of this year in order to meet the December 2014 implementation deadline. He said if that deadline is not met, Lake County will face a $2.6-million penalty. The E 911 commission meets next Thursday, December 19, in St. John.
By Renetta DuBose