ANDERSON – Depending on what happens within the next two weeks, the city of Anderson could become part of a new countywide dispatch center with monetary issues the deciding factor.
The Anderson Board of Public Safety is slated to give final approval to an interlocal agreement with Madison County on July 7 and the City Council will consider approval on July 10.
Anderson Police Chief Larry Crenshaw and Fire Chief Phil Rogers are both supportive of the dispatch center agreement, which received tentative approval from the Safety Board earlier this month.
The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation limiting the number of public safety dispatch centers to no more than two for most Indiana counties. Howard and Tipton counties have already merged their dispatch centers into one operation.
Madison County has signed agreements with Elwood, Alexandria and local volunteer fire departments; everyone was awaiting a decision from Anderson before moving forward.
“The next step is hiring a director,” Dan Dykes, the administrator for Madison County, said Friday. “We have not been aggressively marketing the position. We want people to apply who understand how the radio system works and be able to work with all the law enforcement agencies.”
Dykes said the hope is to have a combined dispatch center by the end of the year in the building shared by Madison County and Anderson on Gene Gustin Way.
The start date for a combined dispatch center has been moved back twice from Jan. 1 and July 1, he said.
“Once Anderson approves the agreement, we can really start moving forward,” Dykes said. “We would like to have another building. The current facility is not up to standards as a dispatch center.”
Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith said from a financial standpoint the city has to merge with the county.
“City Controller Jason Fenwick said we can’t afford not to be a part of the combined dispatch center,” Smith said. “Police Chief Larry Crenshaw said we don’t have any other choice, we would lose significant amounts of funding.”