Regional 911 Emergency Communications District Planning Committee

The towns of Ashby, Pepperell and Townsend formed this committee to study the feasibility of regional dispatch shared among the three towns. The committee is made up of three representatives from each community and includes police, fire, emergency communications and elected leaders. The committee in collaboration with Montachusett Regional Planning Commission has contracted with Matrix Consulting Group – an independent contractor – to conduct the feasibility study.

Matrix’s report, which is due to be completed in the fall of 2019, will help guide the committee’s work going forward.

Have Ashby, Pepperell and Townsend decided to regionalize their dispatch operations?

No. The committee is currently in the earliest stages of its work and is awaiting a report from Matrix Consulting before moving forward in either direction.

Why are the three communities considering regionalizing?

•    Centralized emergency communications with appropriate staffing levels to improve services

•    One dispatch center would handle all incidents in the three communities, eliminating potential barriers in communication and delays in response time

•    Through regionalizing, the communities will have access to enhanced funding from the state that they are not eligible to receive by continuing to operate independently. The funding would help support items such as improved technology and communications infrastructure.

What is the timeline for the committee’s work?

•    The feasibility study is expected to be completed in November

•    Based on the results of the study, the committee will make a recommendation to each town’s select board about whether to proceed.

•    Each select board will be tasked with deciding whether their community will join a regionalized dispatch effort.

•    If regionalization is recommended and is to go forward, all three towns must agree to do so.

Who would oversee a dispatch center if the three towns decide to regionalize?

All three communities would have a share of the management of a regionalized dispatch center.

No one agency or town would have final say, as it would be a shared asset among the three communities.

A location for the dispatch center has not been identified, and would not be until all three communities decide independently to move forward with regionalization.