Libertyville agrees to move dispatch service to Vernon Hills

  • The communications room at the Libertyville Police Department.

    The communications room at the Libertyville Police Department. Courtesy of Village of Libertyville

 
 
Posted3/14/2012 3:50 PM

Calls for police and fire service in Libertyville will be answered by dispatchers in Vernon Hills beginning this summer.

After years of study, village officials in a cost-saving move have agreed to consolidate services at a joint center operated by the Vernon Hills police department and Countryside Fire Protection District.

 

The Libertyville village board on Tuesday unanimously approved a five-year agreement, which is expected to begin on or around Aug. 1. Some of the dispatchers and supporters were in the audience for the vote but did not comment.

"This is not something we did lightly," Mayor Terry Weppler said.

As it stands, the move would affect five dispatchers, which is down from seven less than two years ago. The village has negotiated a "shut down agreement" with the dispatchers union but details were withheld pending ratification by the village board and union.

Village leaders have stressed the move was fueled by cost savings and that quality of service has not been questioned. Libertyville, which has been struggling with declining revenue the past few years, will save more than $1.2 million in operating and other costs during the five-year term.

The village will pay a monthly fee of about $51,000, increasing to $60,000 over the five years.

The Vernon Hills village board has informally approved the agreement and is scheduled to officially ratify it next week.

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Since about 2005, Libertyville officials have discussed the possibility of outsourcing dispatch service for fire and police to improve operations, cut costs and avoid significant expenses for new equipment. Two years ago, village leaders considered the CenCom dispatch service in Round Lake but decided not to join.

The Vernon Hills agreement calls for the center to provide 24-hour service for emergency fire and police calls, as well as after-hours nonemergency police calls and other provisions.

The Vernon Hills dispatch center will hire four more staffers and the Libertyville police records section will expand by two positions. While not guaranteed jobs, Libertyville dispatchers will be interviewed if they choose.

"I wouldn't say special consideration but we would certainly want to talk with them," said Vernon Hills Village Manager Mike Allison. "We understand the difficulty of transition."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Cori Johnson, 29, who has been a dispatcher in Libertyville for four years, said she hasn't decided whether to apply with Vernon Hills.

"I just think the citizens should have had a voice in this," she said after the meeting. "There's no guarantee they'll have any of us going there."

Toni Brown, 53, has 15 years dispatching in Libertyville and is nearing 20 years overall, which gives her flexibility in terms of retirement. She said she won't apply at Vernon Hills and will decide whether to stay in the field or look for something else.

"They made their minds up," a tearful Brown said after the meeting. "It is what it is."

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