Chesterton Tribune



Porter OKs joint radio dispatch with Chesterton; salting roads cut back

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Meeting Tuesday, the Porter Town Council approved a memorandum of understanding with Chesterton that will combine radio-dispatch operations and detective bureaus in both towns.

Porter police chief James Spanier said he anticipates actual joint dispatch to begin in about five or six weeks.

Residents in both towns will see no difference when the consolidation is complete, and emergency 911 calls will continue to be routed through the Porter County E-911 center first.

The Chesterton Town Council OK’d the MOU at its Monday meeting. Vote to approve by the Porter council was 4-0 with member Elka Nelson absent.

Chesterton councilman Emerson DeLaney was present for the Porter vote.

There was little comment about the consolidation during the Porter meeting, but prior to it Spanier told the Chesterton Tribune that the goal of the agreement is to save money for both towns, and to comply with a state law that requires there be no more than two dispatch centers in any county.

Like other area cities/towns have done, Spanier said Porter or Chesterton could have disbanded their respective dispatch operations and allowed Porter County dispatch to handle its calls, but “we feel the county’s too busy and to take us on wouldn’t have worked for them or us.”

Porter County E-911 supervisor John Jokantas has been extremely cooperative, said Spanier, offering needed training on the Tiburon dispatch software for both Porter and now Chesterton, which is acquiring it.

Spanier said Porter’s police station was chosen for the dispatch operations because its equipment had been upgraded more recently than Chesterton’s. The joint detective bureau will be based in Chesterton.

Spanier said affected employees of both towns are engaging in cross training, and they will continue to be under the jurisdiction of each community’s Metropolitan Board of Police Commissioners.

"I think this is a really good thing,” said Porter’s top cop. “I’m sure other things will come up, other things that we’ve not planned for, but the nice thing is working with someone you totally trust.”

Road salting cut back

Porter council member Jeannine Virtue, Public Works Department liaison, announced that for the time being street crews will salt only intersections and hills due to a dwindling supply.

Motorists are asked to exercise special caution when driving at all locations around town during extreme weather.

Virtue said Porter’s road salt supply is dangerously low with the town already having purchased 110 percent of its contract amount through OneIndiana, a group purchasing agent.

OneIndiana warned Porter that after reaching 120 percent the town will have to find another supplier, which it is in the process of doing.

"We’ve gone through a lot of salt as have all communities in the area,” said council president Greg Stinson, who noted there is a shortage of road salt in the whole state.

Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy reported Indiana American Water Co. has reimbursed Porter $32,457. Stinson said the amount is for a water-main break in Hunters Glen subdivision that caused damage there. The council assigned the funds to the Public Works Department, which cleaned out a flooded easement.

The council again tabled discussion regarding security at Hawthorne Park.



Posted 1/29/2014