BRAIDWOOD – There’s a chance 911 calls to the Braidwood Police Department won’t be dispatched by WESCOM employees come February 2017.
The city of Braidwood has given formal notice to WESCOM, a consolidated 911 emergency dispatch service provider – also known as Western Will County Communication Center – that it intends to officially part ways with the service provider Feb. 9, 2017.
Braidwood Police Chief Nick Ficarello said Monday that “there have been issues pertaining to quality with WESCOM services,” adding the city has to consider cost and what’s best for Braidwood residents. He said Braidwood would like to be a part of the new conglomerate at the sheriff’s department.
A proposed $5 million dispatch center has been added to designs for the future Will County sheriff’s facility on Laraway Road in Joliet, slated to open in March 2018. The new dispatch center would bring the county into accordance with a state law that mandates consolidation of dispatch agencies all over the state.
Will County is trying to convert from six dispatch centers to three. The three centers would be WESCOM in Plainfield, Joliet’s dispatch center and the proposed Laraway Road dispatch center.
Centers in Crete, Frankfort, Romeoville and the Will County Sheriff’s Office center would be folded into the new sheriff’s facility center. Braidwood calls are dispatched from Plainfield.
WESCOM Executive Director Steve Rauter said he was not aware Braidwood is interested in joining the new dispatch center on Laraway Road. He said the two parties have not communicated lately, while Ficarello said talks are between attorneys for WESCOM and the city of Braidwood.
“We’d like to have [Braidwood] engage us in conversations,” Rauter said.
Rauter said Braidwood dispatching calls through another public safety answering point would increase the overall amount of dispatch calls in the county because WESCOM is still obligated to transfer calls to said point.
“The new building, at the earliest, would be open in 2018,” Rauter said. “I’m confused what their intentions would be [until then]. We’d prefer them not to leave. But we’d certainly need to know where to transfer those calls.”