The villages of Riverside and Lyons have announced their intentions to explore forming a combined police and fire dispatch system in an effort to streamline emergency dispatching in the two villages. The move is also expected to result in a long-term savings for both villages by combining resources to purchase expensive computer hardware and software.

Tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. at the Lyons Village Hall, 7801 Ogden Ave., Riverside Fire Chief Anthony Bednarz, Lyons Police Chief Daniel Babich and other officials will hold a press conference officially announcing the proposed venture.

On Monday, Dec. 19 the Riverside village board will vote on a resolution to explore the possibility of combining emergency dispatch services with Lyons. The Lyons village board is expected to do the same on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

In the works for months, the proposal was initiated by the Village of Lyons, which will build a new police station on 6 acres of land the village acquired on Lawndale Avenue just south of Ogden Avenue. In a complex land deal, Lyons received 12 acres of land, half of which will be used to build a new police station and village hall and half of which will be used to create commercial development. The land was previously owned by Material Service Corp.

According to Lyons Village Manager Kevin Close, the village is in the process of interviewing architects for the project, and that a new station won’t be complete for at least 15 months.

Since Riverside and Lyons share the same dispatch frequencies, the idea for a joint dispatch center was a natural fit, according to Riverside Village Manager Kathleen Rush.

“We’ve talked with them on and off about various joint operations in the past,” Rush said. “In the past we’ve even discussed the possibility of a consolidated fire department.”

In addition to joint dispatching services, the new setup could provide for a joint lock-up for prisoners and room for records storage.

Riverside would be expected to pay a portion of the construction and equipment costs of any new joint dispatch center. Asked just how much that might amount to Close said that hadn’t been determined yet.

Rush added that Riverside would hire a consultant to create financial projections. Any final decision on creating the joint dispatch center would rest in the hands of village trustees.

“Our trustees would like to make sure this is a good business plan and good policy,” Rush said.

However, time is a limiting factor in the decision-making process. Rush said that Riverside has until June to make a final decision, since Lyons is expected to break ground on the new complex some time in 2006.

A complete report will appear in the Dec. 21 issue of the Landmark.