Emergency Dispatch Consolidation: What Does it Mean to You?
By Village Manager Phil Kiraly
The Public Safety Department is nearing the culmination of a process that began in June 2015 when the State of Illinois mandated that emergency dispatch centers serving populations of less than 25,000 consolidate with neighboring dispatch operations. Now nearly two years later, the Village anticipates that our consolidation with the Village of Glenview will be fully effective by the first week of June, nearly a month ahead of schedule.
The Village takes tremendous pride in providing the highest quality Public Safety services possible to our residents and businesses, which translated into meticulous preparation for this change. The process began with a comprehensive evaluation of existing operations and consolidation options that underscored retaining very high standards of service: these include quick response times and ensuring that residents would be served by highly-trained and professional dispatchers, while also maintaining cost-effective service. After we identified Glenview as the best possible solution and entered into a formal intergovernmental agreement (joined by the Villages of Kenilworth, Northfield and Winnetka), Glenview’s dispatchers began rigorous training to become familiar with Glencoe’s geography and neighborhood layout as well as with the Glencoe Public Safety Department’s internal operations.
Similarly, the Public Safety Department has worked closely with the Information Technology Division and consultants to upgrade, install and test all necessary technology infrastructure to make the connection to Glenview’s dispatch center seamless. This ensures that calls for emergency services from Glencoe residents will take no longer to dispatch, or respond to, than before.
But what does consolidation mean to you? The first thing that I want to reiterate is that Public Safety services will not change. Your Glencoe Public Safety Officers will continue to provide 24/7 police, fire and emergency medical services and will respond to you when called. For those in need of non-emergency assistance, please continue to call the Public Safety non-emergency number anytime at (847) 835-4112. Glencoe staff will still answer these calls during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday). After hours, Glenview dispatchers will assist as they are able, or they will dispatch on-duty Glencoe Public Safety Officers.
Due to the consolidation, however, the Village will no longer be maintaining the 24/7 Public Safety counter at Village Hall. This has implications both for Public Safety services and for those making payments to the Village after-hours. Residents requiring walk-in Public Safety services outside regular business hours or on weekends will have access to a video phone system in the south vestibule and a basic phone system in the north vestibule to link directly to dispatchers in Glenview. This will allow a direct connection to Glenview dispatchers, and they will provide immediate assistance.
To accommodate residents who are unable to make it to Village Hall during normal business hours, the Finance Department has been working diligently to expand our offering of online payments. Already residents can use the online Payment Center for utility bills, vehicle and pet registration, parking tickets, false alarm invoices, alarm permits and to make donations online – and in the near future, residents will also be able to purchase quarterly commuter lot parking permits online.
Nothing is more critical to the community – and to the Village staff - than efficient and effective emergency services. That is why it has been our goal and our sincere commitment to this community to ensure that services you receive here in Glencoe are of the highest quality. Change is difficult, however, thanks to the work of our team in planning for this this transition, I am confident you will see no reduction in service quality. Of course, should you have a concern, I want to hear from you and we will work to fix it.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we make the final steps towards consolidation. Should you have any questions, please contact Public Safety Director Cary Lewandowski at (847) 835-4112 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about dispatch consolidation from these Frequently Asked Questions.