County Supervisors Defend 911 Operators

February 26, 2014
County Board Chair John Hendrick, 608.446.4842
County Board

Several Dane County Supervisors took to the bully pulpit at last week’s County Board meeting to defend 911 Center workers amid controversial criticism of the center’s operations.


“I have the utmost confidence in our 911 Center,” said Supervisor Bob Salov, who serves as chair of the Emergency Medical Services Commission. “I think this county shines above many others, and I think we have a lot to be proud of. Let’s support our 911 Center. Let’s find out, before we expound on the radio waves, let’s have our facts straight. There’s a lot of angst, and it’s needless. Our 911 Center has incredible leadership.”


Salov’s comments come after Madison Mayor Paul Soglin criticized the Communication Center’s efficiency and error rate, and called for changes in staffing and training, in both a letter to County Executive Joe Parisi and a press conference. Parisi responded, asking for constructive solutions to replace accusations.


The Communication Center’s 87 staff take about 400,000 calls per year, and makes about 300,000 dispatches each year, on behalf of 85 different agencies and jurisdictions.


Supervisor Paul Rusk noted that he invited 911 Center directorDejung to the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee meeting Tuesday, and also invited all members of the County Board and Madison Common Council to attend. He also noted that “The 911 Center is always available for people to come in and sit down right next to an operator, and you can see exactly what goes on.”

In other business, the County Board continued to implement a policy enacted in the County’s most recent Comprehensive Plan, approving two rural rezoning requests by setting aside so-called “resource protection corridors” on the properties in question.


In the two petitions -- one in the town of Medina and one in the town of Mazomanie -- the County Board approved zoning requests while setting aside swaths of land to remain undeveloped in order to protect certain watersheds and other resources.


“That’s significant because as part of the re-enactment of the Dane County Comprehensive Plan, staff have put a lot of work into the concept of resource protection corridors,” said Supervisor Al Matano, who serves on the Zoning and Land Regulation Committee. “In each case we were able to say yes to the petitioner, and protect the environment.”


The County Board also awarded a contract worth more than $132,000 to Hill Electric of Madison to install equipment to detect and protect against compact natural gas leaks at the Dane County Parks and Land Management Facility on Robertson Road. Similar systems will be installed throughout the County as more County vehicles are converted to run on compact natural gas, which is more efficient than gasoline. Currently, county officials estimate 25 County vehicles run on compact natural gas.



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