Tuesday, Nov. 11


Stage 2 of ETSB/911 command center unification seeks city approval     Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 11, 2003]  Acting as city liaison to the Emergency Telephone System Board, Alderman Glenn Shelton introduced 911 board chairman Dan Fulscher and the lawyer who is coordinating a new 911 agreement. The agreement is Stage 2 of the new 911 plan to unify the command center under one authority and make all employees equal in pay and responsibilities.

Chris Walter from Canton, who specializes in negotiation and labor laws, introduced a preliminary agreement for 911 dispatch employees as part of a new 911 proposal.

Currently the operation has five county employees and five city employees performing daily operations under two different commands. Sheriff Steve Nichols oversees the county employees and is responsible for certain details of the operation. Lincoln Police Chief Rich Montcalm supervises the city employees and takes care of some other responsibilities related to the operation.

The Logan County ETSB/911 board is under the authority of the Logan County Board. The proposal, which introduces the concept of a unified command, was first presented by the ETSB last summer.

From the start of the Logan County 911 it has been the vision of the board to have a unified command center. The consolidation will offer equal representation in policy-making for the city-county combined 911 dispatch center.

There are numerous benefits to implementing the new plan. Unifying the center will result in more efficient and smoother operations in the control room.

At present the sheriff runs the daily operations in the dispatch room, and the police chief has input.

Two dispatchers are on duty on all shifts, one from city and one from county. While the dispatchers basically operate separately, they cover calls for one another when overloaded, which is often. In addition to answering calls they have other duties in the room, which differ from each other.


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Plans to restructure the operation of the control room have been in the works for over two years. The dispatch center will have more uniform responsibilities, and dispatchers will all be under one supervisor. The supervisor will not be from the city or the county, but will work closely with the city police chief and the sheriff and will receive additional input from the city and county through the ETSB.

The changes will not only make a more evenly controlled room, but it will also free up two city police officers who are currently needed for the streets, and it will free up some of the sheriff's time, allowing him to put more effort into other areas. Most of all, it will create the best operating scenario for a 911 system.

The tentative new employee contract agreement,  and other structural information, was presented to the county 911 committee last week. Next, it will be presented to the full county board for approval. If the county approves it, the proposal will be taken to the voters in a referendum.

The ETSB provided copies of the same material for the city to review. While some areas of the plan are still in the negotiation stage, the ETSB is seeking the city’s approval of the proposal. Though it was pointed out by a city alderman that the 911 board needs only the county’s approval, Fulscher said that they will not move forward on this proposal without the city’s approval as well.

At the recommendation of the contract lawyers, it was asked that the tentative information be kept confidential at this point in time.

The council, Mayor Beth Davis and City Attorney Bill Bates will take some time to review the information.

[Jan Youngquist]

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