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      Lee County looks to merge dispatch services

      If all goes according to plan, the building, next to the Lee County Correctional Facility could house Fort Madison, Keokuk and Lee County emergency dispatchers.

      "I think it will save the tax payers of Lee County money, but our number one concern is, it has to be as efficient as what we're doing right now or a better system," said Lee County Sheriff Buck Jones.

      Keokuk Police Chief Tom Crew says the new system will provide better service to Lee County residents.

      "As technology is changing, all 3 agencies have gone through great leaps and bounds in the last few months to get technology that enhances us and speeds up the process," Chief Crew said.

      A feasibility study will examine each departments dispatch system, the possibility of a combined system and determine if the proposed facility is right to house all three agencies. The study will also nail down a cost for the county.

      "Right now each department pays for their own dispatch system. Each department would contribute to the new facility," said Sheriff Jones.

      As of now, residents in Lee County won't know if they will have to pay for this possible new facility until the study is complete. Sheriff Buck Jones says if the study shows that the enhanced system will cost a lot or it's not efficient, the consolidation won't happen.

      The study cost approximately 50-thousand dollars. Lee County officials hope to have the results in about one month.