We admire the persistence of South Whitley’s Town Council in advocating for what it wants — a town-stationed ambulance dispatched by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department — but it appears this situation is going beyond civil disagreement and could cost taxpayers.
The town council hired an attorney from Warsaw to pursue potential litigation against the county for EMS purposes. We support the town standing up for the EMSscenario it prefers, but using taxpayer money to prove a point may not be the best solution for all involved.
South Whitley Town Council President Randy Cokl has spoken at 12 county meetings in the past year, asking the county to dispatch the town’s new Lutheran ambulance.
Contrary to other reports, County Commissioners have not denied South Whitley from having its own ambulance, they simply disagree with allowing the county dispatchers to dispatch the ambulance because the county only dispatches fire and police services. Parkview EMS provides dispatching services for the ambulances it has to serve the county and Parkview is willing to dispatch the Lutheran ambulance.
There are several reasons for the current arrangement:
• The county has a contract with Parkview that states Parkview will dispatch all ambulances in the county.
• In a time when the county is looking to cut costs, dispatching an ambulance would require training and emergency medical dispatch training, which is required by all EMS call-takers, is pricey.
• If the county were to dispatch medical calls, the county opens itself up to a higher risk for lawsuits. This is a risk in which county officials have expressed disinterest in taking.
The Commissioners have met with Parkview and Lutheran, who said they can agree to a contract, allowing Parkview to dispatch the Lutheran ambulance.
Cokl has asserted that the County Commissioners have “halted” Lutheran EMS in South Whitley, but it appears Cokl, who works as a county dispatcher and is a former Parkview EMS employee, has halted the service himself.
The Lutheran Whitley ambulance has sat in the area for months now unused because the town council has a spat with the county over dispatching.
When we start involving attorneys, we’re spending taxpayer money that could better be spent elsewhere. A lawsuit hasn’t been initiated, yet, and we hope it doesn’t get to that point. Sometimes, it’s better to come to the table and compromise.