We told you about the dangerous new phone system for Kenosha Police, Kenosha Fire and the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department on August 27, 2022. If you called the non-emergency for police or fire, you had to listen to a minute-long recording to hear the option for a dispatcher. For many decades, this number went directly to a dispatcher. Because of Former KPD Assistant Chief and 9-1-1 Director Thomas Genthner and Current 9-1-1 Director Josh Nielsen’s terrible leadership, 9-1-1 dispatchers are in tough demand in Kenosha County. Nielsen thought he would solve this problem by making it it tough to get a dispatcher on the line. This publication told all of the above leaders that this was dangerous and would lead to serious consequences. After our story ran, and the public was outraged, 9-1-1 Director Josh Nielsen made a change to the system. It wasn’t good enough. We were right, and now the above eight leaders have a sizable amount of egg on their faces.
The above group of leaders (2-8) make up the Joint Services Board. The first person picture is Joshua Nielsen, the 9-1-1 director. The board consists of Committee Chairman and County Board Supervisor Monica Yuhas, County Executive Samantha Kerkman, City Administrator John Morrissey
Police Chief Eric Larsen, County Board Member Mark Nordigan, Alderman Curt Wilson, Civilian Board Member Joshua Barker. This committee has oversight over the 9-1-1 director. Except they do not oversee the director, they rubber-stamp everything he wants
A little more than two weeks after our article ran, 170,000 Kenosha County residents were put at great risk. The entire state of Wisconsin had the 9-1-1 system go down. This wasn’t the fault of these people. This is what was their fault: The seven-member board either strongly supported the new phone system or were too afraid to make a motion to change the system. Supervisor Yuhas is in charge of setting the agenda and tone of the committee, so she is where the buck stops. Some of the other six are hard-working diligent public-service-minded folks. But they ignored a huge problem here. For several hours on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 folks couldn’t get a hold of an ambulance, police officer or fire-truck with medical and police emergencies. Many people tried the non-emergency number and got confused, being routed from one robot voice to another. People who called 9-1-1 either didn’t get to talk to anyone, or ended up speaking to a 9-1-1 operator in Milwaukee. Simply put, we don’t know how many people couldn’t get an ambulance or police officer to their home on Wednesday. KCE will be obtaining all calls for service while 9-1-1 was down and will be calling each and every people who needed help but couldn’t get help. If the old non-emergency system was still in place, theses folks would have had no issues getting help. This group of people were warned of the dangers of this system, had time to fix the issue, but didn’t.
Let’s hope they get it right before the 9-1-1 system goes down…..again.