Study suggests separate organization should disperse county 911 calls

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- We're now getting a closer look at what the future might look like for Rockford and Winnebago County's 911 services.

A third party, called Mission Critical Partners, is recommending the creation of another separate organization outside of the Rockford Fire Department and the county 911 center to disperse calls.

County leaders are concerned more on the pay structure of the 911. The study suggests that a more consistent pay model be created.

With the current system, no city or village pays the same amount right now for 911 services.

County leaders say they would like to see every citizen pay about the same for services.

"There's many moving parts to this, many stakeholders that are involved, so there's gonna be a lot of review and analysis of this to make the best determination. That is our focus as the ETSB board is that we maintain the same level of responsiveness, of answering 911 calls," said Rockford Fire Department Chief Derek Bergsten.

"You are going to see this commitment that there be an equitable approach across municipalities and that those paying the bill also have a seat at the table in governance decisions," said Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney.

There are several different ways that the county will look at determining how every municipality is charged for 911 call services.

One is based on call volume and the other is on officer head count.

As far as employees, Haney says many of those decisions are yet to come, since it's very complex. There are two different unions and pay structures currently.

Discussions on this topic will continue over the next few months. No immediate changes will be made.

There is a possibility that Rockford 911 services will be absorbed by the county in the future, but it won't happen right now.