Governor’s 911 Regionalization Working Group Holds First Meeting

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings

Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings

BARNSTABLE – The 911 Regionalization working group created by Governor Charlie Baker met for the first time earlier this month in Taunton at the State 911 Department Headquarters.

The group has been tasked with finding ways to make 911 more regionalized and less reliant on operations at the municipal level.

Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings, who oversees the Cape’s only regionalized 911 and emergency dispatch center, was named to the working group.

“We are going to try to adjust some of the funding formulas and we’re probably going to have to change the legislation that set up the 911 commission and try to reduce some of the barriers because of the legislation,” Cummings said.

Cummings said the cutbacks in dispatch centers will ultimately allow access to improved future technologies by reducing the amount of people necessary to their function.

“There’s 351 cities and towns in the commonwealth, and about 250 public safety answering points – the state of California only has four,” he said.

Cummings believes the goal of the working group is to save the taxpayers money.

“Taxpayer money is going to fund all of these 248 [public safety facilities] we still have, so we still have a way to go,” he said. “We don’t think we will get down to four, but I think we’d be happy to get down to 100 or 150. I think that would do some great savings in tax dollars to the public.”

Cummings said the group is made up of police chiefs, fire chiefs and people who work in dispatch centers across the Commonwealth.

The meeting laid out what the group is trying to accomplish and members filled out surveys with what they believe are the best ways to make that happen, according to Cummings.

The Cape’s regional dispatch center employs three dozen full and part-time telecommunicators who handle fire calls, emergency medical dispatch and incoming 911 calls.


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