County supervisors vote to strip 911 center board of power

Dane County executive now in charge of 911 operations
County supervisors vote to strip 911 center board of power
First responders walk out of meeting stripping them of power over 911 operations.

The first responders who used to decide how 911 gets to Dane County homes are no longer in charge after a dramatic turn of events during a county vote Thursday night.

The Dane County Board of Supervisors decided who’s in charge of the county 911 operations after Dane Country Executive Joe Parisi said last month that he should be in charge.

The first responders on the board were stripped of the power to decide how emergency communication, including the county’s 911 system works. The power is now unilaterally in Parisi’s hands.

Many of the first responders showed up at Thursday night’s meeting in a final plea not to take their voice away. The county executive’s argument was their voices were actually creating too much bureaucracy to handle problems with the system.

Those problems include how much time it takes to get help to homes in Dane County and how long it takes dispatchers to answer 911 calls.

First responder supporters attempted to change that idea, suggesting they at least still be an oversight committee and have some veto power, but that failed.

In a 27-8 vote, the board of supervisors made the 911 center board an advisory board.