Rochester 911 regionalization to begin around May 15

Apr 3, 2018

The Town of Rochester will join Duxbury, Halifax and Plympton in a regionalized 911 system around May 15, announced Rochester's Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar on April 2.

The town's Board of Selectmen signed off on a 911 regionalization project, where Rochester will join the Regional Old Colony Communications Center (ROCC), early in 2017. Regionalized centers have become increasingly common in the state, particularly in the western counties, because of the increased efficiency in dispatching.

Rochester’s dispatching services currently employ one dispatcher; there are two dispatchers in the regional center.

The increased number of dispatchers make it easier for residents to reach emergency services. For example, if someone were to call Rochester with a medical emergency, the dispatcher might have to talk someone through CPR instructions while simultaneously trying to dispatch Emergency Medical Services.

However, as the regional center employs two dispatchers, a certified emergency medical dispatcher could talk through instructions on the phone while the dispatcher could send out an EMS crew.

The number of dispatchers will continue to increase as more towns join the regional center.

When public forums about the regionalization process were held in early 2017, Rochester Police Chief Paul Magee said the only major difference was that no dispatchers would be in the police station. He added that there would be a civilian on duty during hours when people often come into the station with requests.

Szyndlar said that while May 15 is the expected date of regionalization, there is a possibility of extending the final date until June 15 to make sure everything is in place.

In preparation for the regionalization process, she said, it is likely that regional center dispatchers will spend some time riding along with Rochester police to learn the area.

Currently, a number of upgrades are being integrated into Rochester's Police Department, she added.

The ROCC regionalization project was granted $1,693,485 from Massachusetts' State 911 Department late in 2017. Roughly $398,000 of the grant was slated to fund transition costs at the Rochester Police Department.

The money has been used to upgrade police, fire and Department of Public Works repeaters (long-distance two-way radios).

The regional center's "computer-aided dispatch system" has also been integrated into Rochester's Police Department.

Money was also disbursed to place new computers in the town's fire trucks and ambulances and to place a video surveillance system, alarm system, remote door lock and buzzer in Rochester's Police Station.