FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - There has been a lot of discussion over the past year on the future of the 911 call system in Broward County and there’s still no agreement.
Currently, the county controls the 911 system and the Broward Sheriff’s Office manages it, but now the sheriff wants complete control and is refusing to sign a contract.
County Commissioners and BSO cannot agree on Broward’s 911 system. Sheriff Gregory Tony was initially at the meeting Tuesday but left before the matter was discussed, forcing his staff to point at a letter for reference.
The letter stated that the sheriff wanted complete control of Broward’s 911 dispatch, refusing to sign a new contract.
“The public’s safety isn’t for negotiation. It’s been a year now,” said Broward County Commissioner Mark Bogen. “I’m just going crazy with this. This is ridiculous.”
The county handles the technology, the sheriff manages the communication center and staff, but the contract between the two has expired.
“The sheriff has asked for, I think it started at 51 items, but there’s some items in there that we just can’t do,” said Lamar Fisher, Broward County’s mayor.
The sheriff said in the letter that he won’t be giving the county an extension, and commissioners are frustrated.
“As I have been watching, and I think all of us have been seeing these different letters come back and forth, I’m a pretty patient person and I’ll be honest, this has taken me right up to the edge,” said Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr. “This is a team effort between the county and the sheriff. Act like you’re on the team.”
The county is now prepared to move forward without the sheriff’s office.
“If it works out better with us using the sheriff to do it, we should use the sheriff to do it. If it doesn’t, then the county should just be doing this with a manager, with a team, however it works,” said Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine.
Both sides have until March 31 to agree on a long term contract.
If they can’t agree, BSO will continue to work until there is a transition.
“Rest assured to the public and to our residents that calls will continued to be answered and the sheriff is committed to that,” said Fisher. “Let’s just get to an agreement and move on, and if we’re not, then we move on to our plan, to take transition, but there’s no more politics involved, folks. Let’s get this deal done.”
The deadline is March 31, if both sides can’t agree, the county is prepared to move on with a new staff. Although this will take time.
The county wants to let employees of the call center know that their jobs are not at risk since they control this department.
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