Wilbraham considers regional emergency dispatch center - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Wilbraham considers regional emergency dispatch center

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It's an effort by the state to enhance 91 centers. "Next generation 911" is coming to Western Mass by next July. It's expected to support texting, video and pictures to 911.

East Longmeadow, Hampden, Wilbraham, Longmeadow and Ludlow are the five towns that could form the regional dispatch center if voted on.

"We've been talking about regional effort. We received a state 911 grant and we were selected among the 5 communities to participate in the feasibility study to see what was feasible, what was worth it, if it was cost saving," said Wilbraham Police Chief Roger Tucker.

The Carrell group of Hopkinton presented their feasibility study at tonight's board of selectmen meeting in Wilbraham.

Tucker says he believes its a viable plan.

"I think it will professionalize dispatching. 25-30 years ago you wrote down a phone number, wrote on a card and then drove to the persons house. The technology that's been added to state 911 and public communication service is mind boggling," said Tucker.

The state is providing incentives to regionalize dispatch. 

The five towns were awarded a $100,000 grant from the state last year.

Councilors say their biggest concern is local knowledge. Other challenges and disadvantages listed on the study were loss of jobs, dark station issues, and possible local control.

The Ludlow select board heard the study report last week. They plan to hear from the police chief before making a decision.

"We have to get our chiefs together and dispatch and put our heads together and see if this is the right direction that we want to go," said Robert Boilard.

The Carrell Group has already presented their findings in four of those communities. Next, they'll ask the communities to create a planning committee to start the process.

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