BRADLEY — The Bradley police and fire dispatch center located in its village hall complex along West Broadway Street soon might be only a memory.
The Bradley Village Board, by a 5-0 vote Monday, gave permission to village finance director Rob Romo to begin discussions with Kan-Comm leadership about the village joining the countywide service. Romo said after the meeting a deal could be completed within 90 days.
Kan-Comm, short for the Kankakee County Communications Center, handles 911 and nonemergency police, fire and EMS calls for the vast majority of the county. Bourbonnais most recently joined Kan-Comm in 2017.
Currently, Bradley is budgeted to have 10 dispatchers operating its center. The center has only seven dispatchers on staff.
The complex costs village taxpayers between $1 million to $1.1 million to maintain, Romo said. He said he anticipates the village and its seven dispatchers could join Kan-Comm for $600,000 to $700,000 annually — netting an annual $400,000 to $500,000 in savings.
The village already has earmarked those projected savings. Romo said the village administration is considering constructing a second fire station — likely in the northeastern section of town.
If that move takes place, the village would likely increase its current six-member full-time fire department by at least six.
Concerning the dispatch center, Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Watson said Iroquois County would be the backup department for Kan-Comm if this plan moves ahead.
“Details need to be ironed out. We are certainly looking at this. We believe this will serve our residents in a better fashion,” Watson said. “I understand this can be an emotional thing.”
A problem with the Bradley dispatch center is that all Bradley police and fire calls made by cellphone are first routed to Kan-Comm. Once one of the 27 dispatchers there determines it is a Bradley call, the call is routed back to Bradley.
Valuable seconds can be lost because of this process, Romo said.
To join Kan-Comm, Bradley would sign a long-term agreement with the organization.
Not long ago, nearly every community operated its own dispatch center. However, as time has gone by and technology has advanced, local governmental bodies joined together to provide the best service at the lowest cost possible through consolidation.
It is not yet known what would become of the existing 1,500-square-foot dispatch center should the move be finalized.
Village Trustee Bob Redmond said the village had explored this concept twice before, but decided not the join the countywide service. He said the time might now be right.
“This probably should have been done quite some time ago,” Romo said.