River Grove dispatch center upgraded with federal grant
Communication Officer Lisa Peters is on duty in River Grove's newly renovated emergency dispatch center. Behind her his Officer Steve Shragal. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 22, 2013 10:14AM
RIVER GROVE — For years, the village’s Emergency 911 Dispatch Center had become a dreary place to work and the equipment they used had become outdated.
The village had no extra money to buy new dispatch equipment or furniture. No way to afford renovations.
But River Grove Deputy Fire Chief David Atkocaitis knew he had to find the necessary funds somehow.
“We were having issues with the radios and we needed updated equipment,” he said. “We didn’t have money in the budget, but it was a do-or-die situation.”
So Atkocaitis turned to outside funding.
In the past Atkocaitis had sucessfully sought grants for the police and fire departments, so he went to work again. This time, he applied for an American Firefighter Grant through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and received $373,000.
After months of renovation work on the space — replacing the old computer equipment and new furniture — the area has been transformed.
There are two new work stations with desks that can be raised if the employee wants to work standing up. And there are three flat-screen computer monitors at each desk.
River Grove Police Lt. Keith Aller said the furniture was donated to their department from another village that was replacing theirs.
“From what we had before, this is state-of-the-art,” he said. “It’s roomy and worker-friendly.”
River Grove Police Chief Rodger Loni said the new equipment has moved his department into the 21st Century.
“There were problems with the old equipment and it (dispatch computer equipment) was breaking down a lot,” he said. “Parts were at a minimum to replace. We had to jerry-rig everything.”
Lisa Peters, an emergency dispatcher for the village’s police and fire department for 14 years, loves her new work environment.
“I’m very happy,” she said. “It’s very bright. I shared the chief’s secretary’s room (as her work space) for many months while they did this.
“It’s a beautiful place to work now,” she added. “We’re all happy with it.”
Aller said residents should be pleased as well because there was no expense to the taxpayer or village.
“Everything is working out beautifully nice for the village and the citizens now know they have a fully updated 911 center,” he said.