After contentious debate, the Dunwoody City Council on March 28 voted to end its agreement with DeKalb County for 911 services and hire the Chattahoochee River 911 Authority instead.
Dunwoody’s neighboring city, Sandy Springs, uses ChatComm, and Dunwoody council members supporting the move said they believe it will facilitate better emergency response along the border with Sandy Springs. They also expressed dissatisfaction with DeKalb’s 911 services.
The two dissenting votes were cast by Dunwoody City Councilmen Danny Ross and Denis Shortal.
During a work session preceding the council meeting, Ross castigated several of his fellow council members for making remarks about DeKalb’s 911 operation. “I saw emails today from people around this table that just made my hair bristle,” Ross said. “You were disparaging fine people. We need to work with DeKalb County and stop disparaging them at every turn.”
He acknowledged that up until last summer DeKalb did not have enough call-takers in its 911 center to be efficient, but he said that has changed.
“I haven’t gotten even one email complaining about the 911 service,” he said. “And I doubt that anyone at this table has.”
But City Councilman John Heneghan said he’d been on ride-alongs with the police and felt that DeKalb’s 911 system is not providing adequate service.
City Councilman Robert Wittenstein said he had considered three things in deciding to vote in favor of ChatComm — what DeKalb is offering, what ChatComm is offering, and the people with those organizations.
“Most importantly, the people [with ChatComm] are more professional,” Wittenstein said. “You hear it in their voices, you see it in the attitude. They consider themselves partners with the police.”
He continued, “DeKalb has been dysfunctional for years. I will say that they have finally managed to get a warm body in every seat [in the 911 center]. That is their major accomplishment. But their metrics are still poor.”