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County Executive's Office

Supervisors Approve Proposal to Improve 911 Center Oversight

November 07, 2014
County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan, 608.333.2285
County Board

The Dane County Board of Supervisors on Thursday approved a measure to change the governance of the county-funded 911 Center, allowing input from first responders while streamlining  the chain of command.   The Public Safety Communications Commission (PSCC) created by the changes includes 10 members representing first responders throughout the county who will advise the 911 center on operating practices and technology needs.   Decision-making power will be in the hands of the Dane County Executive and the 911 Center’s professional director.


County Executive Joe Parisi requested the change in response to a number of problems at the 911 Center -- including slow response time to emergencies, difficulties in communication between municipalities and delays in implementing new policies.


The ordinance amendment, which passed by a roll call vote of 27-8, removes County Board and Madison Common Council members from the current Public Safety Communications Center Board, leaving 10 representatives of law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical technicians to advise the department.  During debate, Supervisor Maureen McCarville who is a current Public Safety Communications Center Board member, noted that this type of advisory body is the form of governance recommended by the Federal Communications Commission for consolidated 911 centers.


Supervisor Paul Rusk, who chairs the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee, said the former system was fundamentally flawed. “Director Dejung reports to the County Executive. He reports to the County Board. He reports to the Center Board. He’s pulled in every possible direction. That is just not solid management,” Rusk said. “We’re trying to get politics out of the decision-making process.”


“The 911 Center needs a clear chain of command, not 13 managers,” County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan said after the vote. “We will still need the advice and guidance of first responders and public safety officials. This measure both allows  Director Dejung the freedom to use his considerable experience to improve our 911 Center and allows the County to work cooperatively with first responders who use the system.”

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