911 Emergency Dispatch Services Exploration
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. View a copy of the Ryan Report (PDF).
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 have been held at the City Hall with the:
- Mayor's Office
- Law Department
- State 911
- Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
- Taunton Police Department
- Taunton Fire Department
- 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.
Feasibility Report & Benefits to Joining SEMRECC
The Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management completed the feasibility report on December 31, 2021. Get the final report: Edward J. Collins Jr. Center Feasibility Study for City of Taunton to Join SEMRECC (PDF).
The report recommended that the City of Taunton join SEMRECC, citing numerous benefits, including:
- Robust staffing, which includes 6 to 7 dispatchers and supervisors on each shift
- Certified Advanced EMD Dispatchers
- Regional data sharing and analytics
- Regional approach to radio system planning
- Robust physical security and cybersecurity posture
- Hosted CAD and RMS
- Pre-incident planning assistance, including capabilities for aerial drone photography
- 911 wireless direct with enhanced mapping and geolocation capabilities in addition to NG911
- Major incident and event planning and response support
- Increased PSAP, call taking, and dispatching efficiency
- Decreased and stabilize cost to community with a substantial return on investment
- Ability to reduce employee count, healthcare costs, retirement and OBRA liabilities
- Mobile data integration and data usage for public safety tactical operations
- Provision of emergency management dispatchers who have completed Tactical Emergency Response Training
- Dedicated Training and Quality Assurance staff
The City Council voted on January 11, 2022 to authorize the Mayor to take the necessary steps to continue to explore the possibility of the City of Taunton joining SEMRECC.
Access a copy of the 911 Presentation to City Council on January 11, 2022 (PDF).
View the City of Taunton Informational Video: "911: Understanding and Exploring Regionalized Emergency Dispatch Services."
Study on Underlying Issues Involved in Securing an Emergency Dispatch System
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 the MRI website to learn more about their extensive experience and look through a presentation from MRI: MRI Presentation (PDF).
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 6 pm at City Hall to give their input in-person in the City Council Chambers.
Residents were also invited to submit input via email.
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.
Local Organization Members Focus Group
On June 9, 2022, MRI hosted a community focus group with members of local organizations, including:
- City of Taunton Human Services/Council on Aging
- Community Counseling of Bristol County
- Downtown Taunton Foundation/Business Improvement District
- Morton Hospital
- Taunton Diversity Network
- Taunton Housing Authority
- Taunton Public Schools
- TRUE Diversity
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.