Keller City Council will consider an interlocal agreement to start a 12- to 18-month feasibility study on how to best integrate the two departments’ operations. Though a date for that vote has not been set, Keller Public Information Officer Rachel Reynolds said the agreement will likely go before council in March.
This would not be the first time that Keller and Westlake have agreed to share emergency services. The Northeast Tarrant Communications Center, the regional emergency dispatch center that serves Keller, Westlake, Southlake and Colleyville, is based in Keller, and the Keller Police Department has served Westlake since 2002.
While Westlake did not and does not have its own police department, Keller and Westlake will jointly oversee the process of merging the two fire departments.
If the agreement goes forward, Westlake Fire-EMS Chief Richard Whitten will take over as interim fire chief from Keller Deputy Chief Shane Gainer. Keller's previous fire chief, David Jones, retired in January.
Jones’ retirement, as well as the growth of both communities, incentivized Keller and Westlake to consider an agreement to share resources, according to a statement from the city of Keller.
“While the new agreement being explored would be different from our existing partnership efforts, the strong relationships between the two cities and their leaders give us confidence heading into this feasibility study,” the statement said.