Despite multiple complaints to the Village from firefighters and paramedics,and the village’s own records detailing problems on 911 dispatches, Trustee Michael Carberry claimed that he has only heard the complaints about 911 Emergency Dispatch services from one person, fellow Trustee Robert Streit, who has led the battle to expose the problems with the outsourced services.
The Oak Lawn Leaf and other media sites provided evidence of a six minute delay by dispatchers on sending any ambulances to the 17 car crash on October 5, 2014 at 95th and Cicero. The deadly crash took the lives of three people and Oak Lawn’s dispatch services, which were contracted out by Carberry, Mayor Sandra Bury and their other allies on the board.
The Illinois Attorney General also investigated a request for records and interceded on behalf of Streit resulting in the village providing another 46 specific complaints of incompetence against the newly hired 911 emergency dispatchers. The village originally claimed that there were no complaints.
Carberry has sat on the Village Board since May of 2013 and was in office when the Village of Evergreen Park sent a letter in February 2014 stating that the dispatch services provided by Oak Lawn to Evergreen were “inadequate” since Carberry and his allies had voted 4-2 to outsource the services from the union employees to Norcomm, a private company that also operates an ambulance service.
Evergreen Park officials cited specific instances of inadequate services in both the oral and written complaints to Oak Lawn officials. On February 14, 2014, an elderly Evergreen Park resident called the dispatch office about an unknown subject at her door. The 911 operator failed to dispatch a police officer until 5 minutes and 43 seconds had elapsed. Evergreen Park called the response time “unacceptable”.
On February 16, 2014, an Evergreen Park Sergeant discovered that an off duty officer had called 911 reporting an “offender with a gun”. The dispatcher failed to send the transmission over the radio and then the dispatch office denied that the off duty officer had reported a gun. An audio tape of the discussion, reviewed by Evergreen Park police officials, confirmed that the officer had claimed a gun was involved.
Social media has been buzzing for the last year about specific complaints with 911 dispatch services in Oak Lawn. Similarly, the complaints from the fire department have included problems such as dispatching the wrong medical units, dispatching to the wrong location or address, and delays in dispatching. (Click here to see a chart of the fire department complaints).
Despite these facts and overwhelming evidence documented continuously for months, Carberry claimed at the last meeting, “I haven’t heard from one firemen or one policemen…just one person, that’s you. That’s it.” His comments were directed at Streit. Only one person in the audience, Carberry’s predecessor as Trustee, Tom Phelan, clapped after the comments.
Mayor Sandra Bury did not let Streit respond to the comment. Reached by the Oak Lawn Leaf, Streit said that it is “hard to believe” that Trustee Carberry is not aware of the documentation that exists regarding complaints with 911 dispatching services.
Streit said that the failure to provide the records to the public was an obvious cover up by village officials who are trying to “spin” the story to make it seem that everything is okay.
Streit stated, “I guess we can pretend that everything is alright but it is a serious public safety problem for the people of Oak Lawn and we should be working together to fix the problem instead of insisting that it doesn’t exist despite overwhelming evidence.”
To view Trustee Carberry’s comments on Video, click on the video: