[cifnmedia] Telecommunicators will not merge

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 08:15:47 -0800 (PST)

Board: Telecommunicators will not merge
Feb 20 2004 12:00AM  By    

MT. VERNON — The Emergency 911 Board voted unanimously Thursday night to not 
merge city and county telecommunicators once the new criminal justice center is 
The idea to consolidate the departments had been discussed for several months 
after 911 Director Ron Hayes was asked to do a preliminary study about the 
He had concluded both the city and county would save a substantial amount of 
money. But after figures were compiled it was found the city and the 911 Board 
would have to actually spend more money and the county would only save about 
$1,900 per year.
“I knew this wouldn’t plan wouldn’t work and that we wouldn’t be saving 
any money from the beginning,” said Mt. Vernon Police Chief Chris Mendenall. 
“There were just too many factors being left out; I’ve done this for too 
long to know we’d be saving money.”
Mendenall, who chairs the board, explained he compiled statistics for the final 
study using U.S. Department of Justice guidelines which help formulate how many 
telecommunicators would be needed per shift based on the amount of emergency 
It was found that six telecommunicators would be needed for the day shift, six 
telecommunicators would have to work from 3 to 11 and four would have to work 
the 11 a.m. to 7 shift.
Taking those figures into consideration and using the “best case scenario” 
the city would have had to pay $13,000 more per year to operate a merged center 
and the 911 Board would have had to contribute about $98,000.
The “worst case scenario would have meant the city would have had to pay an 
extra $51,000 per year to help operate a consolidated center; the county would 
have had to pay an additional $36,000 and the 911 Board would have had to kick 
in an extra $137,000 per year.
“That would mean that we would have had to raise taxes to help pay for all 
this,” Mendenall said. 
“None of us have that type of money.”
Another factor was the issue the new dispatch center would have only been able 
to accommodate four telecommunicators and six would have been needed for the 
day shift.
“There’s no room for (space) growth at the new facility,” Mendenall said. 
“We would have had to rent an existing building or build a new dispatch 
center separate of the criminal justice center and we knew that wasn’t 
If the merger would have taken place, the city would have also had to hire four 
additional officers to man the police station during the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 
a.m. because once the telecommunicators would have moved to the Criminal 
Justice Center, the telecommunicators would not have been there to help monitor 
walk-ins, answer administrative phones or help deal with emergencies.
“(Proponents of the merger) wanted us to close during those hours and we 
would not have done that anyways because that’s not how we operate,” 
Mendenall said. “The safety of the community would have been compromised. You 
don’t know how many times people come running into the police department 
seeking help or a fight breaks out in the parking lot. 
“If the office would have been closed, there would have been no one to 
Sheriff Roger Mulch said the process of whether or not to merge the two 
departments was done in the correct fashion.
“The county board and others had the initial thought that it might have 
worked if we consolidated,” Mulch said. “Anytime you think there might be a 
chance you can save money it should be discussed. We looked at the idea, put it 
to paper and it didn’t work out. But at least it was discussed and the facts 
were learned.” 

©Register-News 2004 

Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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