Citizens' Committee Needed on 911 Center | WisCommunity

Citizens' Committee Needed on 911 Center

Two committees of the Dane County Board of Supervisors are meeting tonight to gather information on the performance of the ">Dane County 911 Communications Center in the wake of the murder of Brittany Zimmermann.

Board Chair Scott McDonell and others have called for an audit of the Center focusing on its procedures and whether its procedures are being followed.

It is suggested that such an audit be conducted by an outside firm, free of political considerations.

Good idea.

To complement this reasonable course of action, Dane County needs the establishment of a paid citizens&; committee composed of broad communities of interests, devoid of elected officials, and certainly free of civil servants in Dane County, including those serving in the County Executive&;s office.

Such a committee ought to have as its deliverables:

- The establishment of specific directives to improve the performance of the 911 Communications Center

- A report based on testimony from citizens&; use of the 911 service, testimony from UW officials in light of the administration&;s charge of in loco parentis and the related duty to prevent the murder of UW students, and the testimony from law enforcement personnel on public safety.

Hard questions need to be asked.

The communities of interests ought to include representatives of the University administration, students, residents, bloggers, retirees, metaphorical bomb throwers, professors, and as wide a cross-section of the county as feasible, and should be fully funded by the City and County.

For example, the members ought include the metaphorical retiree down the street, the curmudgeon at the Rustic, the Vietnam vet on Butler Street, and most anybody free of 911-related career and political considerations, but indignant of the fact that ">We all failed Brittany Zimmerman.

Elected and non-elected civil servants, and law enforcement officials have been making statements today that they are saying too much, perhaps interfering with police investigations.

Maybe so, but many, perhaps most, residents feel a lack of trust toward the County and City on this matter, and secrecy in the absence of a citizens&; committee is not the best course of action at this point.

It&;s worth noting that this issue came to light becaue of the investigative reporting of Jason Shepard in ">Isthmus and that the community and Shepard were ">obstructed during and after his piece.


May 8, 2008 - 8:41pm