Evaluations to start by Sept. 1, recommendation due to City, County Nov. 1
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Allen County Commissioners Bill Brown, Nelson Peters and Linda Bloom entered into a memorandum of understanding today to study how emergency communications dispatch for the City and County could be combined.
“Today marks an important next step in public safety and government efficiency for residents of the City of Fort Wayne and Allen County,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “Our City and County are showing remarkable cooperation to work for the benefit of all taxpayers by looking at how we can provide the best emergency communications possible through a unified department.”
The County, under the guidance of Jim DeRose, retired County communications director, and Steve Smith, retired City communications director, will study the City's proposal presented in May to consolidate the dispatch operations for the Fort Wayne Police Department, Fort Wayne Fire Department and Allen County Police Department.
Then a joint review committee consisting of City communications director Tina Taviano and County communications director Aaron Likes plus DeRose and Smith will provide a final recommendation to Mayor Henry and the three commissioners by Nov. 1.
If a majority of the joint review committee recommends consolidation between the City and County, Fort Wayne and Allen County agree to work in good faith to implement a joint department by Jan. 1.
“This is just another example of intergovernmental cooperation that's taking place between Fort Wayne and Allen County,” said Commissioner Brown. “We commend Mayor Henry and his staff for working with us on this important project.”
State law requires a combined dispatch center by 2014. If the City and County agree to joint departments, it will put Fort Wayne and Allen County a full five years ahead of the mandated consolidation.
“This is a great step forward and further demonstrates our resolve to look at areas in government where the city and county can develop greater efficiencies,” said Commissioner Peters.
The agreement doesn't change how 911 funds from the County are currently dispersed.