Lake County creates new agencies for consolidated dispatch service

Lake County officials took significant steps Tuesday to provide consolidated dispatch service with official approvals establishing LakeComm to answer emergency calls and a second agency to manage operations.

The intergovernmental agreements were approved overwhelmingly by the Lake County Board as “an important and obvious next step” in consolidating 911 and emergency dispatch services, said Lake County Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart.

“It is through this unprecedented collaboration between the county and our municipal partners that we are able to take another important step forward in the process that will reduce response time and ultimately save lives,” she said in a news release.

  A 911 dispatch center under construction in April just west of the Lake County permit facility at 500 W. Winchester Road in Libertyville. Joe Lewnard/

“We will be able to provide the residents of Lake County and visitors with a faster, more coordinated emergency response system that they not only expect but deserve,” she added.

An estimated 500,000 people in Lake County will be affected by the consolidation. The new services are expected to be operational by late summer or early fall 2025 after construction of the $54 million Regional Operations and Communications Center is complete at the county’s government campus in Libertyville.

The first agreement establishes LakeComm as the 911 center responsible for answering emergency calls for law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services. The second establishes a Joint Emergency Telephone Systems Board to receive 911 surcharge funds and oversee implementation and operation of the system.

Lake County, several other municipalities and fire protection districts are founding members. Entities have until June 30 to become a founding member. Those who join LakeComm after will need approval from two-thirds of the members.

A notable exception to date has been the Lake County sheriff’s office, which so far has opted not to physically consolidate.

Sheriff John D. Idleburg reiterated his position Tuesday that LakeComm “strips away my statutory power.” The sheriff’s office covers unincorporated areas but has a much higher level of minimum service and would have to reduce provided services or increase costs to maintain them, he has maintained.

The agreement establishing LakeComm says the sheriff’s office will be granted membership on written request, and current or future requirements for new members won’t apply.

Board member John Wasik of Grayslake said the practice of call transferring needs to be resolved.

“We need to fix it, we will fix it and it is being fixed,” he said. “I think we’ll reach a resolution with the sheriff; I’m confident of that. If we save one life, it will be entirely worth it and we’ll be doing our jobs.”

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