LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) — The mayor of Lebanon is making changes to the city’s emergency dispatch system, but not all public safety leaders are on board.

Right now, Wilson County 911 dispatchers make calls directly to the Lebanon Fire Department, but Mayor Rick Bell’s plan will add a step to the process.

Starting Monday, Lebanon Fire Department calls will start at Wilson 911 and be transferred to the Communications Center at the Lebanon Police Department. Those operators will then dispatch firefighters to emergencies.

Mayor Bell said years ago the city used $6 million in taxpayer money to purchase a state-of-the-art radio system to make dispatch more “efficient and centralized” and it needs to be put to better use. This system also allows police and fire personnel to be dispatched to scenes simultaneously.

However, Lebanon Police Chief Chris Dowell says the addition of a “middle man” in the dispatch chain could add up to three minutes to response times.

“Moments, seconds, minutes. You name it. It actually plays a big part in what we do to try and save somebody’s life,” Dowell said.

Mayor Bell insists the new process won’t add that much time.

“I think adding 2 or 3 minutes is not accurate at all, and that’s because I think this system works really well. It worked well before, and it will work well again,” Mayor Bell said.

Wilson County 911 Executive Director Karen Moore says Lebanon Fire used to be dispatched this way prior to 2019. But that’s when Chief Dowell requested his department be dispatched directly to cut down on response times.

Moore says that the system worked well for the last three years and questions why the mayor is now changing the process.

“The data shows it’s a lot better. Lives have been saved. The arrival times of the fire engines are several minutes quicker,” Moore said.

Moore estimates it will now take at least thirty seconds to a minute for Wilson County 911 operators to gather information from callers and then transfer the call to the Lebanon Communications Center.

“It’s immediately going to delay it,” Moore said. “I’m worried for the citizens.”

Moore adds that neither the mayor or any Lebanon City Council members have come to the Wilson County 911 center to see how the new process will work.

“I’d like to think that we’re all on the same common ground, that we want the best for the citizens. But I do believe that I’m putting the best product out there for the citizens,” Chief Dowell said.

The new dispatch system goes online Monday. Chief Dowell disagrees with the quick decision, but Mayor Bell says he thinks it will be better for the city.

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“We want to make sure that Lebanon citizens are protected in the best way possible and we think this is the way,” Mayor Bell said.