SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 31, 2011

Regional 911 center gets off the ground

MIDDLETON — The six towns committed to a regional emergency dispatch center have begun to meet and create plans for its operation.

Town leaders from Beverly, Wenham, Topsfield, Middleton, Essex and Amesbury have formed three governing bodies for the Essex County Regional Emergency Communications Center: a fire chiefs, police chiefs and financial advisory board, said Wenham Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren.

A construction contract to build the center, planned for state-owned land near Middleton Jail, has gone out to bid, and groundbreaking could take place as early as this summer.

The center is scheduled to be operational in October or November 2012, Wenham Selectman John Clemenzi said.

"We will be on the front end of something that is our future," Clemenzi said. "We are going to build a plant that will do Wenham and the other towns justice."

Wenham police Chief Ken Walsh is chairman of the police chiefs advisory board for the center, and Chelgren is vice chairman of the finance board.

This month, the six towns decided to go ahead with plans for the center without waiting for other North Shore communities to join the project. Area towns that make a decision to join the regional call center will now have to be approved by the project's charter members.

The regional center will be overseen by the Essex County Sheriff's Department.

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