BOURNE – The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office was awarded a $1.2 million state grant to invest in improving the regional emergency dispatch center.
The funds will be used to consolidate emergency fire dispatch for towns interested in regionalizing their emergency response.
Additionally, plans call for the re-routing of wireless 911 to the dispatch center. Those 911 calls currently go to State Police.
Not every town on Cape Cod is interested in regionalizing the emergency dispatch service. The Town of Barnstable is among the Cape Cod towns that handle their own 911 calls.
The state’s Executive Office of Public Safety, in conjunction with its State 911 agency, awarded the grant.
The money, according to the sheriff’s office, will enable Sheriff James Cummings to pave the way for the project’s final phase: building or expanding the capability of the existing emergency regional dispatch center in Bourne.
Notification came in a letter dated Wednesday and signed by Public Safety Secretary Andrea Cabral.
It sets parameters for how the planning funds are to be disbursed, which is in three parts.
The largest amount is for architectural and engineering services ($891,394), followed by professional services ($208,980), and concluding with project management ($119,485).
The Sheriff applied for the grant in March, following a $204,000, state-funded feasibility study that led his office to take this next step.
According to the sheriff’s office, the goals of the project are to install additional 911 call-in points to those already in place at the regional center in Bourne.
The sheriff also wants to push ahead on two continued consolidation of emergency fire dispatch, for those Cape towns and fire districts that choose to regionalize. He is also planning further enhancements for medical dispatch.
The re-routing of the wireless 911 calls that now go to State Police eliminates a step, the Sheriff noted, “at a time when every second can count.”
An expanded center would enable police and fire departments who opt for regionalization to eliminate their stand-alone centers — and go instead with the Sheriff’s multi-agency operation.
The center’s 30 member staff, including telecommunicators and supervisors, work at eight multi-functioning workstations, complete with computer-aided dispatch, mapping, and other technology.
“The benefits of continued regionalization with respect to both emergency 911 and dispatch services are many,” Special Sheriff Jeff Perry said. “Consolidation will bring about a more consistent, more thorough, and more efficient service-delivery model. This, in turn, will enable us to better meet the evolving emergency dispatch standards of the state. We’re talking about economies of scale and about a holistic response to emergency public safety – for the entire county.”