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Des Plaines Committee Recommends Creation of its Own 9-1-1 System As Niles, Morton Grove Leave North Suburban Emergency Dispatch Center

Mon January 07 2013 7:33 am
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A Des Plaines committee recently agreed to recommend to the city council a new Des Plaines dispatch center and emergency telephone system board for handling 9-1-1 calls for Des Plaines and Park Ridge. The change would involve the dissolution of the North Suburban Emergency Dispatch Center (NSEDC) and the managing board Joint Emergency Telephone System (JETS).

Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Morton Grove and Niles were once all part of the North Suburban Emergency Dispatch Center governed by the Joint Emergency Telephone System board. For cost savings and logistics reasons, Morton Grove and Niles are switching to emergency dispatch service provided by the Village of Glenview, which cuts NSEDC down to only Des Plaines and Park Ridge. For Morton Grove, the switchover to Glenview dispatch takes place in January 2013. Niles, is expected to switch over in the first or second week of March, 2013.

Des Plaines and Park Ridge sent out a request to join Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS), which serves Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Streamwood. All communities run their police and fire dispatch services through NWCDS, except Prospect Heights where fire services are run through RED Center in Glenview. In a NWCDS board meeting in July 2012, the board agreed to advise Des Plaines and Park Ridge that they were having trouble with their CAD system (Computer Aided Dispatch System) implemented by ID Networks, and that they wanted to resolve the issues with their CAD system before considering the expansion that would include Des Plaines and Park Ridge. The NWCDS board decision came at the same meeting when the dispatchers and telecommunicators union at NWCDS voted “no-confidence” in the leadership at NWCDS — in large part because of technology failures related to CAD system errors and unreliabilty. Dispatchers reported being brought to tears over the stress related to unreliability of the system. NWCDS continues to have problems with police and fire vehicles not receiving their calls via the onboard computers and other issues. In September 2012, NWCDS advised Des Plaines and Park Ridge that their inclusion in their system was not feasible.

The remaining option for Des Plaines is to operate its own 9-1-1 center with Park Ridge contracting for dispatch services. The action would cut the number of employees from 47 down to 26. The Des Plaines-Park Ridge 9-1-1 center would operate with its current technology for at least two years, and the cost of upgrading to a new dispatch center would be considered or other options would be considered.

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