Chesterton Tribune



Mike Brickner, new county emergency chief, looks to improve communications

Back To Front Page



When Valparaiso Police Chief Mike Brickner retires on Friday, Aug. 18, and three days later assumes his new responsibilities as Porter County Executive Director of Public Safety, he’ll be looking to rationalize, integrate, and coordinate two formerly separate governmental functions: the E-911 Communications Center and the Emergency Management Agency (EMA).

Brickner’s new bailiwick: the Porter County Emergency Communications and Public Safety Department.

The idea behind the consolidation, pursued by the Porter County Commissioners in the wake of first-responders’ complaints about communications problems involving multiple agencies: to define, enhance, and fine-tune the lines of emergency communication.

“There are some models out there consistent with what the Commissioners are seeking to do,” Brickner told the Chesterton Tribune. “Consolidating government, when done the right way, can be very beneficial to the community and provide for better service. It’s a model that’s going to work out very well for the citizens of Porter County and its fire, police, and EMS agencies.”

Brickner’s goals are both near- and long-term. “I will be working with fire and police agencies to see what challenges they’ve had with 911,” he said. “And we’re going to be evaluating personnel. I’m eager to look at the organizational chart and find the model that will work best both for the EMA and 911. We’re going to let the personnel know they’re valued but that expectations are high. You have to clarify that, and good employees will embrace the changes. You also have to clarify policy to make sure it’s being followed.”

Brickner is making a particular point of transparency. “We’re going to be very transparent with the Porter County Commissioners and Council and with the citizens about what’s happening and how it’s progressing. Everybody will know what’s going on. When Mayor Costas appointed me Valparaiso Police Chief, I told him he wouldn’t have to worry about the VPD. My goal is the same. The Commissioners and Council should not have to worry about 911 and EMA operations.”

Meawhile, Brickner will begin pursuing accreditation for the E-911 Communications Center, as he did for the VPD, which was accredited in 2010 and remains one of only a few handfuls of law enforcement agencies in the state to have achieved that distinction. “I want to take 911 and the EMA to the next level,” he said.

Reporting to Brickner will be two deputy directors of the Emergency Communications and Public Safety Department: one overseeing E-911 operations, the other EMA. Neither deputy has yet been named. “I’m working with the Commissioners to evaluate what the needs are,” he said. “I have an idea of the people I’d like to see in the positions.”

Brickner--CHS Class of 1979--was one of 13 candidates from across the nation short-listed by recruiting consultant P4 Global. He’s served with the VPD for 31 years and as Chief since 2004. “Leadership is an honor and a privilege,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with my position at the VPD. But it’s a spot I’m just holding. It doesn’t belong to me.”

“I’m a Chesterton High School graduate,” Brickner added. “I’ve lived in Porter County practically my whole life. This is my home and public safety is my passion.”


Posted 8/10/2017




Search This Site:

Custom Search