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Article updated: 7/17/2013 9:56 PM

Lincolnshire to outsource police dispatch to Vernon Hills

By Mick Zawislak

Vernon Hills will expand its emergency dispatch services by adding Lincolnshire police to the mix as of Oct. 1.

Village boards in both communities recently approved an agreement in which the Vernon Hills communication center will provide 24-hour answering of 911 and nonemergency calls for police.

The five-year agreement means Lincolnshire will discontinue its in-house police dispatching system. Fire calls for the Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District are handled by the Regional Emergency Dispatch Center in Northbrook and will not be affected.

"Operationally, they (callers) won't notice any difference," Vernon Hills Deputy Police Chief Jon Petrillo said.

Vernon Hills police and the Countryside Fire Protection District, which covers the village and surrounding areas, joined forces a few years ago in a new and expanded dispatch center at the Vernon Hills police department.

During the build out, additional radio and computer counsels were installed that allowed for expansion. Last August, the Vernon Hills center took over the dispatching duties for Libertyville police and fire.

"We don't actively seek out communities but we always are listening to anyone's need," Petrillo said.

As with the Libertyville move, Lincolnshire expects to save money by outsourcing the dispatch service. Police Chief Peter Kinzie said the village's dispatch system is 20 years old, has outlived its useful life and would be expensive to upgrade.

"There will be cost savings to the village. I projected it out to be $1 million over a five-year period," he said. Lincolnshire also dispatches Riverwoods police calls but that village will be going elsewhere for the service.

Lincolnshire will pay $138,975 in upfront capital costs to include software licensing fees that will provide police with access to a more modern technology and allow them to generate reports in their cars, rather than having to come into the station, Kinzie said.

"It will keep them out in the field for longer time," he said. All 14 village police vehicles are expected to be equipped with new laptops.

"What they're getting is a state-of-the-art CAD (computer aided dispatch) system," Petrillo said.

Lincolnshire also will pay $272,320 the first year -- with 3 percent annual increases in subsequent years -- in 12-equal monthly installments.

Lincolnshire had six dispatchers. One already has joined the Vernon Hills center and a second is to follow. A third dispatcher retired, two will take positions as records clerks and the last will become an administrative assistant in the police department.

"No one is going to be without a job who didn't want one," Kinzie said.

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