County Must Consolidate 911


In 2002, a whopping 80 percent of Broward County voters passed a referendum demanding consolidation of emergency 911 communications and dispatch services.

Voters wanted the closest fire-rescue units to respond in serious emergencies, regardless of what name is on the outside of the rescue truck.

The voters understood what the rescuers always knew … minutes matter.

This week, the county confirmed a committee of county-wide stakeholders to work towards implementing a cooperative consolidated communications system for Emergency-911 and dispatch communications.

The timing is so important for so many.

 The Broward County Consolidated Communications Committee

The Committee was chosen in cooperation with Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County, Broward County Chiefs of Police Association, Public Safety Committee of the Broward League of Cities, Broward City County Managers Association, Fire-Rescue Services Council, the Board of Directors of the Broward League of Cities and the County Commission.

The Committee, made up of professionals in public safety, city managers, and elected officials, is tasked to work deliberately and expeditiously to come up with a cooperative consolidation plan:

  • Lois Wexler, County Commissioner (Co-Chair)
  • Mike Ryan, Sunrise Mayor (Co-Chair)
  • Keith Dunn, Miramar Police Chief
  • Dave Donzella, Lighthouse Point Fire Rescue Chief
  • Al Lamberti, Sheriff
  • Mike Mann, Coconut Creek Police Chief
  • Mike Burton,Tamarac Fire Rescue Chief
  • Nabil El Sanadi, MD
  • Neal de Jesus, Broward County Fire Rescue Chief
  • Chadwick E. Wagner, Hollywood Police Chief
  • Paul O’Connell,WiltonManors Police Chief
  • Charlie Dodge,Pembroke Pines City Manager
  • John Stunson, Oakland Park City Manager
  • Richard Lemack, Davie City Manager
  • Chuck Faranda, Lauderhill City Manager
  • Burgess Hanson, Deerfield Beach City Manager
  • Chip LaMarca, County Commissioner
  • Debbie Eisinger, Cooper City Mayor
  • Joy Cooper, Hallandale Beach Mayor
  • Tom Powers, Coral Springs Commissioner
  • George Brummer, Pompano Beach Commissioner
  • Bruce Roberts, Fort Lauderdale Commissioner

A report and recommendations is due within 120 days — four months.

Fortunately, after much debate, analysis and discussion, we are well beyond the issue of feasibility — cooperative consolidation of communications is feasible and there are plenty of other models to review and consider.

The Committee Must Move Forward With Deliberate Speed To Implement the Will of the Voters

The Committee must work hard to find consensus for operations, governance and funding.

Cooperative consolidation of 911 and dispatch must have common metrics for performance, clear lines of accountability, common training and staffing standards, full representative governance for participating agencies, a fair funding model, and provide a secure communications infrastructure.

As one of my colleagues on the Committee said some time ago, it is time for us to leave our purely parochial interests at the door, roll-up our sleeves, and do what the voters expect of us.

We must come up with a smart and fair plan to improve public safety service, reduce errors, eliminate built-in delays in the system, and save precious taxpayer resources overall.

This Committee is our best opportunity to secure consensus and implement what the voters demanded a decade ago.


 (Michael Ryan was elected mayor of Sunrise in August, 2010. A partner in the Fort Lauderdale-based law firm of Krupnick Campbell Malone, Ryan has long been interested in improving the delivery of fire services to the public. He also has been the PTA president at his children’s school, involved in School Resource Officer issues county-wide, and continues to coach in youth athletics). 


20 Responses to “County Must Consolidate 911”

  1. Smart Move says:

    The Broward County Charter section 5.03 could not be clearer.

    It says “The County Commission with cooperation from Municipalities shall establish a countywide communications infrastructure for fire and emergency medical services. The County shall provide funding for the communications infrastructure and all service providers will utilize the elements of the communications infrastructure. The communications infrastructure shall facilitate closest unit response for life-threatening emergencies and support for regional specialty teams.”

    The County is to create the system, all cities are to use it, and the county is to pay for it. While not mentioned, it makes sense to include police dispatch into the same mix. If folks insist, that too should go before the voters.

    The part I don’t get is this. Why is this language so difficult to understand? Why this discussion of who funds? Here’s an idea why not just follow what the law says?

  2. Resident says:

    Yes, the devil is in the details. I am sure that something will work out, and some will be winners and others losers. People want, but when they find out costs, then it is another thing. Nothing is for free.

    BTW, why the commercial at the end of the column?

    What commercial?

  3. Shhhhrek says:

    Typical Politics. Voters told the politicians what to do way back in 2002, and they are just now attempting to start thinking about following the direction provided by the people?…. Pathetic. Just more political puffery. This will never happen because of the very names on the list who are tasked with it’s implementation. Cynical? Yes, but as a resident in Broward County, I have never been given a reason to think otherwise. Sunrise Mayor Ryan may have hope, but hope doesn’t get sh$t done.

  4. Privacy 101 says:

    Sounds like a no-brainer. People should get fast responses to emergencies. The only thing that disturbs me is the people on these committees. It’s always the same names on every committee – whether it’s the MPO, Planning Council, League of Cities…I could go on and on.

  5. It Better Happen says:

    Resident is correct. Details matter. But, it is about time there is this action on this topic. It better happen.

    BTW, Resident, didn’t you argue last time to eliminate all city based public safety and consolidate the whole county? Really? Eliminate all city police and all fire? How?

  6. Mike J says:

    Once again Mayor Ryan is showing why he is the best in South Florida. Always looking for what’s best for the community. Mayor Ryan has changed Sunrise for the better with his positive intelligent approach.

  7. Resident says:

    This commercial:

    (Michael Ryan was elected mayor of Sunrise in August, 2010. A partner in the Fort Lauderdale-based law firm of Krupnick Campbell Malone, Ryan has long been interested in improving the delivery of fire services to the public. He also has been the PTA president at his children’s school, involved in School Resource Officer issues county-wide, and continues to coach in youth athletics).

    You don’t do this for anyone else except when they are running for office. We know he is the Mayor and it doesn’t matter when he got elected, we don’t care who he works for, or his other activities for purpose of this article.

    That commercial.

    As it indicates on the piece, Mike Ryan wrote it.

  8. Vivi says:

    It’s about time to consolidate services. For example,
    the response by City of Sunrise after the Oct. 18th tornado
    was incredible. Under the leadership of Mayor Mike Ryan , all city departments provided compassionate, prompt and quality
    services to our neighborhoods. We are all to familiar with the challenges of Mother Nature in South Florida. And our entire County should prepare and coordinate 911 responses.

  9. NoseBleedSeats says:

    “a fair funding model?”, that’s code for get ready to pay more than you’re paying now in Broward speak! Q: Who’s paying for it now? A: We are thru our Broward County taxes, unless you live in a City who dispatches themselves. If you live in a City that dispatches for itself you pay twice. This is based on a local decision at the City level. Why should we all pay more because a few elected boards made bad decisions and now want us to pay for it?

    We need consolidated 9-1-1 for sure, but only in Broward would we adopt a model that costs us more. Good luck to this group, I wish them all the best, taxpayers are watching and interested in a result that lowers the cost of service instead of increasing it! No new taxes, fees, service charges, etc… we the user/consumer/taxpayers are already paying enough! Consolidation costs less other places, not more!!!!!! Good Luck to this group!!!!!

  10. Not A Resident says:

    Resident, then dont read it. Didnt complain last time it was on the 911 article. If same Resident, that was the one you wanted county cops and fire. As asked above, how do you intend that should happen.

  11. Resident says:

    If the county can pass a county referendum controlling ethics of all municipal officials, I don’t see why they can’t do the same and assume all fire, police, EMS, etc. I think just think that is where this is headed.

    The unions may not like it, and the county may not want it (be careful what you wish for). At some point that seems to be the next logical step. Of course the same can be said as to providing most services for all local government.

    But then, the county will have to tax everyone to run it.

    I think some counties are close to this concept.

  12. Le Peerman says:

    Nice to see Margate represented.

  13. Smart Move says:

    Frankly what is the point of having a city if they don’t run their own police and fire. You might as well have metro government at that point. There is no point to having a city just to run parks and garbage collection. All manner of consolidation is necessary at the local level. We waste too much money on these unnecessary fiefdoms when most all of it can be done better and with less expense in a larger organization. The only reasons this has not taken place already is that our city leaders won’t propose it and our voters are too stupid to demand it.

  14. Margate a Leader? says:

    Margate that’s your productive input on this issue, we are upset because we are not on the committee? With responses like that, this committee doesnt have a chance because of the same old same old. Get involved and stop the sniping. This is why 10 years after we voted to do something, nothing has been done.

  15. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Well I’m glad to see at least you Buddy reporting on this subject the Sun-Sentinel doesn’t seem to get it,but yet I see”Get Lit Ft.LAu” etc. Iam glad to see that County Comm Lois Wexler and Chip Lamarca are on this Commitee. I would think twice about your continued support to this Sheriff(remember who put you in that seat, it certainly was not Al Lamberti -enough said). I mean I hope that this commitee comes back w/ some good ideas because quite frankly i would rather join the County centalized system then have to deal w/ this sheriff. From his staff(52-fire all of them) to his admin staff(LT>COL Wheeler(where’s the duffle bag-think fat slob really fat slob Rothstein)and your demand letters etc. What is really troubling is the Sheriff lamberti is more concerned about the deputies exposing their tattos to the inmates(like the jails are the Waldorf). Take lamberti off this commitee HE IS THE PROPLEM.

  16. Le Peerman says:

    Margate a Leader?
    No one asked us. Pretty much same ole same ole when it comes to Margate being a part of discussions, however since my comment we received an email and our fire chief will be attending.

  17. Mayor Mike Ryan says:

    Commissioner Peerman:

    I have had the opportunity over the past few months to speak to all of stakeholder associations. All endorsed the idea of moving forward through an implementation Committee.

    I am certain if you speak to those who attended (and there were many between Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs, City Managers, Public Safety Committee and the Board of the Broward League of Cities), they will tell you I repeatedly emphasized this must be an inclusive process – not a cram down. I even invited the reticent, skeptical and opposed to participate.

    In fact, if you had the chance to read the back-up letter I directed to the County Commission on October 28, 2011, 10 days ago and long before your posting, I stated explicitly “… simply because someone is not “appointed” to the Committee does not mean they are not welcome to participate in a meaningful manner. Instead, ALL stakeholders and those interested are welcome to provide input and analysis. The Broward League of Cities has embraced a philosophy that favors inclusiveness and consideration of all views.”

    The Associations designated representatives in their best effort to achieve a meaningful cross section. It was not possible to put everyone on the committee who has given this important concept thought – and there have been many over the years.

    I neither think I represent the “same ole same ole”, nor have I been around long enough to have participated in any past affronts to Margate. While attempting to maintain a cross section across 31 municipalities, multiple stakeholder associations, and many who have participated at one time or another, I could not have been clearer that everyone was invited to participate in some manner if interested.

    So I must respectfully disagree somehow this process represents a continuum of affronts to Margate or the only reason Margate was invited to the process was because of your posted comment.

    More importantly, I would hate to start this process with negative connotations regarding the selection of the Committee, or the suggestion by you, your colleagues, or your constituents that somehow Margate was slighted in this process. We have too much important work to do together to be distracted by innuendo.

    I look forward to your involvement and the involvement of anyone who is interested in trying to achieve the best possible cooperative solution. I hope we all can maintain a positive, civil tone through the process – understanding our collective goal is to improve service, conserve resources, and implement what the voters overwhelmingly demanded in 2002.

    Best regards,

    Mike Ryan

  18. NoseBleedSeats says:

    Since when did this become about Margate? No one asked us? How about you get in the game! Do something bold like merge your local government with North Lauderdale and Coconut Creek to form a new, larger community that would benefit from a lot less overhead. 1 city manager, not 3; 1 fire chief, not 2; 1 Police Chief, not 3; 1 Mayor, not 3; 1 City Attorney, not 3; and my list goes on and on – those are the 6 figure wage earner’s in your communities, excluding the Mayors!That would be leadership instead of complaining about not being invited to someone elses party.

  19. Le Peerman says:

    Mayor Ryan, Et Al,
    I have been a resident for longer than I have been a Commissioner and I have a tenancy to be flippant sometimes. That is not an excuse more so just factual. When I read a committee list and do not see Margate represented my first reaction as a resident was my post. However I understand that I should be more diplomatic at times. I was in no way referring to you Mayor in my same ole same ole since like me you are new. I also was not trying to put a negative anything on the committee or the work needed to be done. I apologize if that was infered by me. I am sure you can understand my jump to a conclusion when I received the email from the Broward League of Cities shortly after my posted comment I forwarded that email to the fire chief and he said he was going, thus Margate will be represented. I appreciate constructive criticism and will attempt to gauge my postings less resident and more official but I can’t promise I won’t revert back at times. Especially when it has taken so long for something to happen that should have happened when the voters voted on it.
    Nosebleed I think we have had this conversation before and I am pretty sure that it will not happen anytime soon.

  20. Julia Spann says:

    Yes. Let’s work on this. We don’t have time to waste. Lives are at stake …. could be your own.