Venon Hills may consolidate 911 dispatch with Riverwoods and Lincolnshire
Ed Kilcullen is a dispatcher in the Vernon Hills communication center, which represents Libertyville police and fire, Vernon Hills police department and Countryside Fire Protection District. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 13, 2013 2:11AM
VERNON HILLS — The Vernon Hills Police Department is slated to earn nearly $1 million in revenue in its proposed 2013-14 budget, thanks to dispatch consolidation.
That’s because the department, which already works in tandem with Countryside Fire Protection District to provide dispatchers for Libertyville, could also serve as a dispatch center for the Lincolnshire and Riverwoods police departments.
Police Chief Mark Fleischhauer told village trustees during a recent meeting that he’s in negotiations to include the departments, though officials said no agreements are finalized.
Currently, Libertyville pays approximately $598,000 per year for Vernon Hills to handle its 911 fire and police calls, Vernon Hills Finance Director Larry Nakrins said. He also roughly estimates the Lincolnshire and Riverwoods police departments might contribute an extra $339,000, bringing the total to $937,000.
Though a merger could mean lost jobs for some Lincolnshire and Riverwoods dispatchers, Vernon Hills officials said their village would need two more dispatchers and those hires could be transfers from those merging departments.
But consolidating dispatch services does not compromise safety, Fleischhauer said. An adequate number of trained personnel who are familiar with each community will be available at all times, he added.
Vernon Hills began planning for these mergers in 2007, when the police department purchased the neighboring building from an insurance company to address cramping issues. The overall renovation of both buildings was stalled by the 2008 recession, but a new, modern communications center was created first.
Fleischhauer said he had every intention of making this center a regional asset — something that saves everyone money and creates stronger lines of communication during situations that require multiple agencies to respond.
Vernon Hills inhabited the center alone for three years before Countryside Fire Protection District became a co-provider and shared the expense. Countryside Fire covers Vernon Hills, Long Grove, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer and unincorporated areas of Lake County.
Libertyville’s police and fire departments joined the center in August 2012. Two of their seven dispatchers were hired for the Vernon Hills center. When Libertyville consolidated, its officials predicted a $1.5 million savings over five years.