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Article posted: 1/16/2013 4:35 PM

Could dispatchers be replaced in Island Lake?

By Russell Lissau

Island Lake's police dispatchers could learn Thursday if they'll be replaced by an out-of-town agency.

The village board will host a special meeting at 8 p.m. at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave., to discuss if police dispatch services should be outsourced to the Lake Zurich Police Department or the Lake County sheriff's office.

The board is prepared to vote on an intergovernmental agreement with either agency if a decision is reached, according to the agenda.

Island Lake employs six full-time dispatchers. They've been represented by a union since 2003, but have been without a contract since 2010.

The dispatchers cost the village about $355,815 a year in salary, payroll taxes, insurance and other costs, officials have said.

No details about the proposals from Lake Zurich or Lake County were available.

Many suburban police departments team up to provide the service or use a larger dispatch unit.

Until the agenda for Thursday's meeting was released to the public Tuesday night, village officials were mum about whether they were seeking to outsource the dispatch service.

Residents and political candidates have been calling for information about the negotiations and the future of the service for weeks, but their requests have been ignored.

People came to the dispatchers' defense at last week's Island Lake village board meeting.

A few residents shared stories during that meeting about times they had to call 911 for police assistance and praised the dispatchers for initiating speedy responses. Others talked about how only locally employed dispatchers would know about local landmarks someone might mention during a 911 call.

But as in the past, officials said nothing.

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