Vernon Hills, Libertyville unite to open dispatching center
Dispatcher Jim Jamrok of Fox Lake answers a call on the new computer system. The Vernon Hills Police Department has a new updated communications center which will include new equipment, and they will also now be providing dispatching centers for Libertyville Police and Fire Departments. | Alyssa Schueneman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 10, 2012 6:10AM
VERNON HILLS -- A new joint dispatching center at the Vernon Hills Police Department will provide dispatching police and fire dispatching services for residents of Libertyville and Vernon Hills.
With little fanfare, Vernon Hills Police Department completed the consolidation of Libertyville’s police and fire dispatching service at the Vernon Hills 9-1-1 emergency communications center on Aug. 1.
“Everything turned out better than I could have expected,” said Vernon Hills Police Chief Mark Fleischhauer. “This truly is a place I think we’re all very proud of.”
With the consolidation, the Vernon Hills emergency communications center will provide dispatching services for Libertyville police and fire services, in addition to Vernon Hills police and Countryside Fire Department. Libertyville will no longer operate a police and fire dispatch center at the Libertyville Police Department.
However, Fleischhauer said Libertyville residents will notice no change in service, and the consolidation will provide better efficiency of dispatching services between local police and fire departments.
Libertyville Fire Chief Rich Carani thinks the merger will benefit both the villages of Libertyville and Vernon Hills.
“We’re going to be able to reduce our costs and improve our service at the same time,” he said. “It’s a win-win situation for the residents. It’s eventually going to improve service because we’re going to be able to have better training and better equipment by sharing the cost.”
Libertyville officials have estimated that the village could save as much as $1.5 million over five years by combining dispatching services with Vernon Hills.
Libertyville had seven dispatchers. Two were hired by Vernon Hills as dispatchers at the new communications center and three others were reassigned to other positions in the Libertyville police department. Two other Libertyville dispatchers were not retained and are leaving the department.
“It’s always difficult to have to lay off or lose people and I understand that, but the benefits for the (Libertyville) community are significant,” said Fleischhauer.
Countryside Fire Department, which provides fire services to Vernon Hills, Long Grove, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer and unincorporated areas of Lake County, consolidated its fire dispatch services with Vernon Hills in September 2010.
Countryside Fire Chief Jeff Steingart said the merger of Countryside’s dispatching services with Vernon Hills two years ago was a “great move” and he thinks the addition of Libertyville will provide even more efficiency and cooperation between departments.
“We were already working very closely with the Libertyville Police Department,” he said. “This is just a great partnership that will aid in response to emergencies by bringing everybody together in an efficient manner.”
In addition to Vernon Hills hiring two emergency dispatchers from Libertyville to handle police calls, Countryside Fire will add two new dispatchers at the Vernon Hills communications center to cover the increased volume of fire calls from Libertyville. Libertyville will pay an annual assessment to cover its portion of the cost of staffing, operations and equipment at the Vernon Hills communications center.