911 Emergency Dispatch Services: Exploring Options for the City of Taunton
The City of Taunton has been discussing issues regarding 911 communications since 2015. Following some tragic circumstances in 2016, a report was compiled revealing a series of deficiencies in our 911 emergency dispatch system: Ryan Report.
The City has discussed a number of options over the years. Since 2021, the City has been exploring various options, including the possibility of joining the Southeast Massachusetts Regional Emergency Communications Center (SEMRECC).
The Mayor's Office has worked closely with Police Chief Edward Walsh, Fire Chief Timothy Bradshaw, the City Solicitor, and the State 911 Department.
The Mayor’s Office, representatives from the Law Department, and Chiefs Walsh and Bradshaw with members of their departments have visited the SEMRECC facility for a tour and meeting with the SEMRECC Director and staff.
Several meetings with the Mayor’s Office, Law Dept, State 911, EOPPS, and TPD and TFD have been held at City Hall.
City Councilors toured the SEMRECC facility.
Unions and their counsel have been kept apprised of the process.
The City Council unanimously approved the Mayor entering into an agreement for a feasibility study exploring the possibility of the City of Taunton joining SEMRECC. The study was arranged and funded by State 911.
The City of Taunton Informational Video: "911: Understanding and Exploring Regionalized Emergency Dispatch Services": https://vimeo.com/679165370
As the City explores the option of potentially joining SEMRECC, there will be further study to examine the many underlying issues involved in securing an emergency dispatch system that best ensures the public safety of our City.
Municipal Resources, Inc. (MRI) was retained to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of our current system and potential future options. Please visit their website to learn more about their extensive experience: https://www.mrigov.com and view the presentation from MRI: MRI Presentation.
Various options for emergency dispatch services will be studied in addition to joining SEMRECC, including maintaining current services, creating a civilian dispatch center and developing a local regional center. Furthermore, there will be opportunity for public engagement. The City of Taunton continues to work closely with the Police and Fire Departments, and the City's public safety unions, as we move forward with this study and the exploration of options for 911 emergency dispatch services.
On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, City residents were invited to attend a Community Listening Session at 6pm at City Hall to give their input in-person in the City Council Chambers.
At the beginning of June 2022, the Mayor's Office organized a City-wide mailer that was sent to residents and businesses in Taunton. The mailer provided information about the 911 study and solicited input from the greater community.
On June 9, 2022, MRI hosted a community focus group with members of local organizations, including: Community Counseling of Bristol County, Taunton Public Schools, Taunton Diversity Network, Taunton Housing Authority, City of Taunton Human Services/Council on Aging, Morton Hospital, TRUE Diversity, and Downtown Taunton Foundation/Business Improvement District.
During the focus group, participants were provided information about our current dispatch operations and engaged in a robust conversation regarding the benefits and challenges of the various options for 911 dispatch in the City of Taunton. Their feedback was thoughtful, comprehensive and informative.