Barrington Hills votes to outsource emergency dispatching
A month after rejecting a proposal to outsource the village's police dispatch operations, village trustees reversed course Monday and narrowly approved the same measure.
The decision means that the village will join QuadCom, a Carpentersville-based 911 center that dispatches for nine other nearby communities, including South Barrington and East Dundee.
The change of course came after Trustee Michael Harrington, who previously opposed the plan, voted in its favor Monday. That allowed Village President Martin McLaughlin to break a 3-3 tie by voting for the outsourcing.
Harrington said Monday he saw his previous vote as not so much as a "no," but as a "not now," because he didn't believe he had all the information last month necessary to approve the plan.
Proponents say the turning over dispatch operations to QuadCom will result in significant savings for the village. A team of consultants hired by the village to analyze the proposal estimated it would save $3 million over 10 years.
But Trustee Patty Meroni, who voted against the plan, said outsourcing would mean longer emergency response times because dispatchers unfamiliar with the village would be less able to guide responders to Barrington Hills homes, which can be poorly numbered and difficult to access.
"Our numbering system is bad at best and absolutely confusing," Meroni said. "There are still some places that I have difficulty finding."
Police Chief Rich Semelsberger disagreed, saying his officers know their way around the area.
The plan to outsource service to QuadCom started in 2013 with Semelsberger's predecessor, former chief Michael Murphy, McLaughlin said.
Richard Tuma, a village consultant who has been the director of several 911 centers in the past, including QuadCom, said the move would not only save money, it could save lives.
He said a team of dispatchers like those at QuadCom can better respond to large-scale disasters than one or two village dispatchers, which he called the old way of dispatching.
"We can no longer do it the way it used to be," Tuma said.
The plan means some of the six village police employees who have been dispatching and doing administrative work in the will be laid off, officials said.