SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 2, 2014

Danvers mulls options for dispatch center

Addition could cost up to $6.5 million

DANVERS — It could cost $4.5 million to $6.5 million to upgrade the dispatch center in the police station, Town Manager Wayne Marquis said.

A study recommends an addition to the police station on Ash Street. Selectmen, who were scheduled for a presentation last night, will need to discuss options for a possible article for the upcoming May Town Meeting.

Problems with the town’s outdated emergency communications were exposed during the fiery explosion of an ink and paint plant in Danversport in 2006, police Chief Neil Ouellette said. The blast, which could be felt for miles, destroyed or damaged dozens of homes in Danversport. Dispatchers scrambled to field frantic 911 calls and dispatch help from a cramped room inside the station.

The police station’s present center is a combined police and fire dispatch staffed by civilians. And while the town was able to respond to the emergency, dispatchers found that calls for fire response “stepped on” or drowned out other calls, Ouellette said.

“There is no sight and sound separation” in the room, Ouellette said. To make matters worse, there were not enough working consoles for added dispatchers. The communications dispatch room, built along with the station in 1977, did not envision computer monitors. The room has 15 of them displayed around the room.

“It’s outlived its life potential,” the chief said.

Deficiencies go beyond the dispatch room. The town tried to manage the response from the town manager’s conference room in Town Hall, which also proved less than ideal, with just a phone line, one computer and some cellphones, Ouellette said. That’s why the station also needs a room to handle such emergencies, he said.

Another concern is that the station’s networking and communications equipment sits below the dispatch room, under water pipes in a basement that has been known to flood.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Comments Tracker