East Peoria Moves To Trim Dual Dispatch Agreement With Northern Tazewell

Jul 7, 2020

The East Peoria Fire Department wants to transport all rescue calls within the city's corporate limits.

Those areas include Sunnyland, Robein, and subdivisions along Centennial Drive. This is a change from years' past, when the Northern Tazewell Fire Protection District handled EMS calls within that area.

 Commissioner Mike Sutherland said he was concerned about the move.

 "I just hope that we don't step on too many feet, and we don't get stepped on either. It's just been a good working relationship up there," he said.

 But East Peoria Commissioner Seth Mingus said Northern Tazewell wasn't necessarily "happy" about the move, but it's a $150,000 in savings for the city fire department to take on those duties itself rather than contract them out after East Peoria cut 15 percent from its budget due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 "That's where this came from. I wouldn't really say it was confrontational. Both sides had where they felt, both sides were looking out for their bottom dollar. And that's kinda where we are with the situation," he said.

 The commissioner wrote an op-ed about the dual dispatch services in the Peoria Journal Star last fall after the agreement came up in public discourse.

 Mingus said Northern Tazewell will still provide primary firefighting to the areas within East Peoria it covers, and will still respond to EMS calls, but East Peoria will transport all medical patients. The two agencies will still provide mutual aid to each other on all firefighting calls.

 As an exchange, East Peoria will reimburse all TC3 dispatch fees in the area. East Peoria Fire Chief John Knapp projects that will cost between $20,000 to $23,000, based on historical data.

 Mingus said Northern Tazewell also must approve the arrangement.

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