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Wonder Lake formalizes disaster response

Published: Friday, July 11, 2014 11:35 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, July 12, 2014 12:16 a.m. CDT

WONDER LAKE – In an effort to ensure efficiency and that nothing is overlooked during an emergency, the village of Wonder Lake has created an Emergency Management Agency with the police chief as its head, its village administrator said.

While many larger disasters -- including floods or tornadoes -- require local governments to turn to the county, state or even federal government for assistance, the responsibility ultimately lies with the village, said Wonder Lake Public Works Director Steve Weir, who was appointed this year to also serve as the village's administrator.

Establishing a formal plan and structure is "a tool to make sure that [the village] checks all the boxes so [it] can move up the ladder" and get the resources it needs if an emergency occurs, he said.

Weir as the public works director has served informally as the point person in cases of emergency, but with the additional duties he has taken on as village administrator, the Wonder Lake Village Board decided to appoint Police Chief John Crilly as the director and coordinator of the village's Emergency Management Agency.

Crilly, who became the village's police chief in February, will not receive any additional compensation from the appointment.

The village has one full-time employee in its police department. Both Weir and Crilly are part time.

"There's more demands on governmental time, and we have less resources to provide those services," Weir said. "We wanted to formalize the process primarily to make sure we don't miss anything. Emergency situations are controlled chaos. Lots of things are happening quickly."

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