The application to create the West Central Consolidated Communications – or WC3 – joint emergency dispatch system is heading to the state of Illinois for approval after the village of Brookfield became the third and final participant to sign an intergovernmental agreement to create the agency on June 27.
The village boards of Riverside and North Riverside approved the intergovernmental agreement earlier in June. Each village also passed an ordinance dissolving its own E911 board. That will become effective when WC3 is operational.
Officials from Brookfield, North Riverside and Riverside who comprise the board of directors of WC3 will now begin the task of choosing an executive director to lead the new agency, which will handle all police, fire and emergency medical dispatching for the three villages once all of the policies and technological details for the system are worked out.
“Tentatively, by Jan. 1, 2017 we’re hoping to be operational,” said Riverside Village Manager Jessica Frances, who will serve as the first chairman of the board of directors for WC3. “Essentially, we’re talking six months [to be up and running] and that’s optimistic.”
The search for the agency’s executive director will be led by the firm GovHR, which also assisted the villages in putting together the application submitted to the state. Officials believe that an executive director can be identified and hired within 90 days.
The cost for the search, which will be shared equally by the villages, will be $18,500. The villages have already paid $25,000 to GovHR for their work on the application.
Gov. Bruce Rauner in June 2015 signed into law bill mandating that any municipalities with less than 25,000 people consolidate emergency dispatch services. The deadline for submitting an application to the state was July 1.
Frances will serve as chairman of the board of WC3 for the first two years. At the end of that term, the chairmanship will be passed to the Brookfield village manager for two years, followed by North Riverside. A separate operations board includes the police and fire chiefs from each village.
It is possible that other municipalities will join the joint dispatch agency in the future, but that won’t happen until the agency is fully operational early next year. Frances said she expects the state to approve WC3’s application in 30 to 60 days.
At this point, each of the three villages is funding WC3 equally. Operations will be paid for via the E911 surcharge. And the difference between the revenue collected via the surcharge and operating costs will be funded equally by each of the villages’ general operating funds.
Officials still say they are not sure what it will cost to run the new joint dispatch center, which will be housed at the North Riverside Police Department, 2358 Desplaines Ave.
Dispatchers employed individually by the villages will become employees of WC3, and officials say the plan is to retain all of the full-time dispatchers currently employed. It’s unclear what will happen with part-timers.
Each village will have to employ its own records clerk. Right now, the dispatch and records positions are combined in some cases, so that’s going to have to be worked out in those instances.
The new combined dispatch center will also mean that, in Brookfield and Riverside, there won’t be someone at the front desk 24 hours a day, and the doors to the police station lobbies will be locked after hours.
While there will still be police officers at the stations around the clock, Riverside and Brookfield will have to install a telephone at the front entrance of the police station, allowing people to reach someone inside the station at all times.