, Salem, MA

Local News

March 5, 2011

Regional 911 center is a go for towns

Six towns vote to start construction this year

MIDDLETON — Six towns — Beverly, Wenham, Topsfield, Middleton, Essex and Amesbury — have decided to go ahead with a regional emergency dispatch 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, said Topsfield fire Chief Ronald Giovannacci.

"The other communities weren't able to make a decision in a timely way, so we chose to move forward," he said. "If another town chooses to join tomorrow, it would be up to the charter communities on whether they would fit with the team."

Construction will start sometime this year on the Essex County Regional Emergency Communications Center, which will be built on state-owned land by Middleton Jail. Giovannacci, chairman of the project's advisory committee, said the center should be operational in 17 or 18 months.

"It's going according to plan," he said. "We believe this will be a model for the rest of the commonwealth to follow. ... Other communities will be able to see it work, know that it's possible, and join at another date and time."

Between the six communities, 78,000 people will be served by the emergency dispatch center, overseen by the Essex County Sheriff's Department. Participating towns have been guaranteed a five-year fixed cost of $16.26 per capita.

"The state is still very enthusiastically backing this project," said Paul Fleming, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.

The center is being built with state funds and is designed so that it could accommodate more towns in the future.

"There are many other communities that didn't vote no, but have delayed a vote. We believe at some point in time they will join," Giovannacci said.

One of the communities yet to make a decision is Hamilton, which has shared a dispatch center with Wenham since the 1960s.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Comments Tracker