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Columbia County Observer

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Columbia County News

Columbia County/Lake City Combined Communications: Down for the Count

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night's County Commission meeting brought no surprises as the County Commission finally KO'd the Columbia County/Lake City 911 Combined Communications Center.

Commissioner Stephen Bailey said it was unfortunate "that we are in the situation that we are in with the relationship between the City and the County as it comes to dispatch."

Recently, the City has been complaining about interference on the radio channels. Bailey said that many years ago, in the days of the Columbia County Volunteer Fire Department there was interference.

Commissioner Bailey said it had been a "downhill spiral" since the City Police decided not to have the County controlled 911-Combined Communications Center (911-CCC) dispatch its police calls.

At that time, the City claimed the correct protocols and operating procedures were not in place to adequately protect anybody, including the City residents.

The City, because of multiple breakdowns at the 911-CCC, has decided to dispatch its own Police and Fire.

Commissioner Bailey said, "It's become obvious. There is no other way to look at this other than it's politically motivated."

Commissioner Bailey claimed that the City is causing "drama out at the dispatch center." He said, "It's time to put an end to it."

Commissioner Scarlet Frisina said she agreed with everything Commissioner Bailey said.

Com Bailey: Lake City doesn't want it to work.

Commissioner Bailey then claimed that everyone – the Sheriff, the Fire Department, and Lifeguard Ambulance wanted to see this work. "They all wanted to see this work as a combined center. We just got the third entity [Lake City] that doesn't want to see that work."

Commissioner Ronald Williams said, "I thought it was a good gesture of this Board to sit down at the table with everybody involved... I cannot see why when everything was solidified with a City Manager and a Chief of Police – why the deal was so bad and we couldn't work the differences out."

Commissioner Williams said he was concerned that it seemed like the County is in "as much dreadlock as they are in Washington, DC... So be it."

Commissioner Bailey added that he thought, "We were headed in the right direction."

Commissioner's Nash and DePratter had nothing to say.

After blaming the City for all the problems, the County Commission voted unanimously to accept the pullout of City Fire Dispatch from the 911-Combined Communications Center, effectively ending the Columbia County/Lake City Combined Communications Dispatch Center.

The Last Two Days

The City letter
The County letter

In correspondence exchanged between the City and the County over the last two days, the City complained that the County shut down the Pinemount Road Fire station on the west side of Lake City and moved the Fire trucks to the Fair Grounds fire station that had been previously shut down.

The City said they were not informed of this and that the dispatch of the County fire trucks was without "consistency."

The next day the County shot back that the concerns raised by the City were not only incorrect, but politically motivated.


The County's good ole boys can now sleep well. There will be nobody to report on the malfunctioning radios, interference, tower outages, fuzzy CAD images, misrouted calls, lack of workable protocols or any of the other ills that have beset the 911-Combined Communications Center.

The City will be gone and the County workers have learned that when somebody stands up and "rats" out Columbia County's infamous good ole boys, they are gone.

After last night's meeting the Observer pointed out to Commissioner's Nash and DePratter that it appeared that the City Fire Department was not advised of the closing of the County's Pinemount Fire Station.

Commissioner Nash said he knew about the closing a month ago.

Commissioner DePratter responded, "Well, is it my obligation to call the City Fire Department?"


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