October 18, 2019

Illinois Consolidation Hearing in October

Illinois 9-1-1

Madison County Illinois Consolidation plan has been scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 21 in Springfield. The hearing, part of the Statewide 9-1-1 Advisory Board Meeting, will cover Madison’s consolidation plan that was resubmitted in August.

The original plan was approved July 2017 by the Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB), but numerous issues, especially conflict over the plan with St. Clair County 9-1-1, delayed the process to the point that ETSB eventually dropped the plan and resubmitted a slightly revised version earlier this year.

The meeting will start at 10 a.m., with the Madison County 9-1-1 hearing set to begin at 10:15 a.m. Monday, Oct. 21 at the Illinois Commerce Commission Building, 527 E. Capitol Ave., Springfield. St. Clair County 9-1-1 has already filed an objection.

Consolidation Mandated by State Law

The Illinois Consolidation plan by state law requires that Madison County consolidate the number of 9-1-1 call centers by at least half. Under the original plan approved by the ETSB, the number of PSAPs would have been reduced to eight from 16. Part of that has been completed through the planned consolidation of several departments’ PSAPs to the Wood River Police Department’s dispatching center.

However, St. Clair County 9-1-1 had filed an objection to the plan, triggering a series of lawsuits and other legal issues that have delayed the approval and implementation of the plan for the past two years.

In March it was announced that the ETSB was dropping the existing plan and would resubmit it in June. Some revisions were requested, and the current version was submitted in late August.

Challenges to Implementing Consolidation Plan

The original hearing was to take place during a single day in late May 2018 but has been reset numerous times because of legal maneuvering between Madison County 911 and St. Clair County 9-1-1. Included in St. Clair’s objections to Madison’s plan were that the plan was similar to plan that was submitted by St. Clair but rejected by the Statewide 9-1-1 Advisory Board. Additionally, St. Clair asserts that Madison’s plan does not adequately outline how non-PSAP dispatchers can share information with PSAP dispatchers when non-PSAP dispatchers take over the incident after the initial emergency call.

Related Story: St. Clair County challenge delays 911 consolidation

Madison County was to have implemented its 911 consolidation plan by Aug. 1, 2018 but delays in holding the administrative review hearing in Springfield caused it to miss that deadline. It has also halted negotiations on a new service contract with AT&T until the issue is resolved.

One of the reasons the original plan was scratched and resubmitted was to nullify all the previous judicial orders regarding the St. Clair County objections, according to a letter sent to Madison County police chiefs at the time.

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