Morton Grove police dispatch center swap going smoothly
Updated: April 29, 2013 9:58AM
Morton Grove’s move to swap the village’s police dispatching from Des Plaines to Glenview so far has been seamless, without any dropped calls or other problems, according to Morton Grove Police Chief Mark Erickson.
Beginning March 4, police emergency calls went first to the dispatching center in Des Plaines before being directed to the joint dispatching center at the Glenview Police Department. Eventually, the calls will go directly to Glenview.
“It went extremely well,” Erickson said. “We didn’t have any delays or lost calls. Nothing. We were very pleased.”
In addition to that switch, Morton Grove officers and other department staff have been undergoing training on the new system that will computerize and modernize reporting and other aspects of department record keeping.
Morton Grove has shared joint police dispatching with Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Niles in the Des Plaines City Hall for the past 10 years. Retired Police Chief George Incledon recommended the change as a way to save the village money.
Similarly, the move to Glenview is expected to save at least $300,000 a year by moving to the Glenview Public Safety Dispatch Center, according to village officials. Morton Grove has been paying about $1 million annually for dispatching through the Des Plaines 911 center.
Before that, the village employed its own dispatchers at the Morton Grove station.
Beyond saving money, Erickson said the newer system will enable the Morton Grove department to modernize its record keeping and reporting.
The new report management system will allow officers to input reports in their cars rather than forcing them to return to the police station to do that. Erickson said that will give them more time on the street.
Once it’s fully implemented, Erickson said the new computerized system will allow the department to generate a range of reports to identify any issues or concentrations of crimes and better track trends or changes.
While the switch over in dispatching was instant, Erickson said the rest of the improvements will be phased in. “It’s a more lengthy part of the transition,” he said.
The Glenview dispatch center is handling calls for Morton Grove, Glenview and Niles.
Once the new technological aspects of the system are fully implemented, Erickson said the three towns will be able to easily share information.
Individual officers also will able to tap into that database, something Erickson said will help them work better.
For example, officers responding to a call will be able to find out information about the address and past calls there.
“They will have access to a heck of a lot more information than in the past,” he said. “It will help our officers do their jobs more efficiently and more safely.”
The Joint Emergency Telephone System Board, the consortium sharing the Des Plaines facility, decided last summer to request a feasibility study of moving dispatching services from the center in Des Plaines to the Northwest Central Dispatch System in Arlington Heights.
The center has been housed in the Des Plaines Village Hall. But Des Plaines officials said they needed that space back.
Erickson said that prompted Morton Grove police to look at what alternatives were available.
However, all four towns using the Des Plaines Center must obtain approval of the Illinois Commerce Commission to dissolve the consortium.
Morton Grove and Niles have already completed the process and their village boards have approved the necessary actions.
The Park Ridge and Des Plaines boards have had to resubmit some documents, Erickson said.
“It’s not a hard process, but it’s a lengthy one.”
The Des Plaines 911 center has handled calls for Park Ridge and Des Plaines police and fire, and for Morton Grove and Niles police.
Fire-related calls from Niles, Morton Grove and unincorporated Maine Township are transferred to the Regional Emergency Dispatch, or RED Center. That has not changed.