For Immediate Release - September 30, 2010

PATRICK- MURRAY ADMINISTRATION RELEASES $10 MILLION FOR THE OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF REGIONAL 911 CALL CENTERS

Third straight year grants distributed for development of regional 911 answering points

BOSTON - Thursday, September 30, 2010 - Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to improving public safety and increasing efficiency in state government, Governor Deval Patrick today released a total of $10 million in grants to communities developing, or studying the feasibility of developing, public safety answering points (PSAPS). These PSAPS, or call centers, will enhance 911 and emergency dispatch communications centers, improve public safety and save money for taxpayers. An additional $2 million in development grant funds is expected to be released later in October for a total of $12 million this year.

"With these funds, we are giving our municipal partners the tools they need to both effectively respond to public safety situations and efficiently manage taxpayer dollars," said Governor Patrick.

"As our Administration continues to work with cities and towns to promote regionalization, these grants are an effective resource that will provide municipalities with supportive tools to develop more efficient and responsive shared emergency call centers," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who chaired the Regionalization Advisory Commission this past year.

"Our public safety resources are limited," said Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan. "Regionalization combines 911 emergency operations and their costs providing a vehicle to more effectively utilize personnel and funding for training and supervision and purchase and maintain emergency communications equipment."

The grants, distributed by the State 911 Department, will fund regionalization projects stretching from the Cape to the Berkshires. Projects include building regional emergency communications centers, purchasing call center equipment, improving the infrastructure of existing regional 911 communications departments and conducting feasibility studies for regionalizing services.

Governor Patrick first announced grant funding in 2008, when he signed a law establishing the State 911 Department and creating a fund to pay for enhanced training, upgrading equipment and creating incentives to regionalize 911 operations. Under both state and federal law, these funds can only be used to support the 911 system.

Since its inception, the fund has provided over $66 million in support grants to 262 call centers across the Commonwealth, including $14 million in training grants to train 911 call takers, $27.5 million in development grants and more than $14.5 million in other support funding for the Administration's regionalization efforts.

Ten of the call centers receiving awards this year will use the funding to purchase new state of the art equipment, perform architectural or engineering work at existing call centers or begin construction on a new regional call center. The remaining ten recipients will undertake studies to determine if regional call centers are feasible in their communities.

Worcester is among the communities seeking to begin construction of a regional call center this year with its awarded of $1.6 million. Once up and running, the call center would serve Worcester and as many as 10 communities surrounding the City. A grant of $1.3 million will go to a regional call center in Berkshire County that supports 22 communities, and will allow for improvements in mission critical radio communications.

State funding will also support projects in Barnstable County, Douglas, Essex County, Franklin, Hingham, Middlesex County, Monson, Norfolk County, Revere, Sudbury, Wrentham, Dukes County, Nantucket, Rutland, New Braintree, Shelburne Falls and the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District.

The first regionalization project funded through the development grant program is expected to be in full service by early 2011. The project has been awarded approximately $5.3 million in development grants over three years and will service the communities of Hingham, Cohasset, Hull and Norwell.

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