Police department receives $398,000 in regionalization grant

Oct 17, 2017

The Rochester Police Department has received $398,000 to help it transition to a regionalized 911 system, as part of a grant from the state.

The town's Board of Selectmen signed off on a 911 regionalization project, where Rochester will join Duxbury, Plympton and Halifax as part of the Regional Old Colony Communications Center, earlier this year. Regionalized centers have become increasingly common in the state, particularly in the western counties, because of the increased efficiency in dispatching.

The Regional Old Colony Communications Center regionalization project was granted $1,693,485 from Massachusetts' State 911 Department at the end of September.

Roughly $398,000 of the grant is slated to fund transition costs at the Rochester Police Department. The rest of the grant money will be used to fund improvements at the Regional Old Colony Communications Center in Duxbury.

Of the grants Rochester's Police Department received, $224,166  was allotted to upgrade police, fire and DPW repeaters (long-distance two-way radios). Capt. Rob Reardon of the Duxbury Fire Department described the repeaters as "in dire straits." Also included in the allotment is a permanent generator hook-up and HVAC installation.

$91,086 was allotted to update and integrate the regional center's "computer-aided dispatch system" in Rochester. No dispatchers will be in the police station, but there will be a civilian on duty during hours when people often come into the station with requests.

Additionally, even at night when there may not be anyone in the building, there will be something in place in case someone needs help at the station.

$28,165 has been granted to place computers in the town's fire trucks and ambulances.

Amongst improvements to Rochester's police station itself, $2,151 is provided for installation of an emergency phone. $2,313 is provided to secure the building's lobby area, while $7,976 was made available to install an alarm system. $2,625 is allotted for a remote door lock, while $1,703 will provide a door buzzer.

$18,213 will place video cameras in the station. The cameras will be monitored in the regional communication center.

"These are security systems that aren't generally seen in small towns," Reardon said. "Duxbury doesn't have some of this stuff."

Selectman Woody Hartley asked Reardon what the timeline was for Rochester's integration into the regional system to be complete, to which Reardon said he didn't have an exact timeline.

"We are a bit behind schedule," he admitted. "This grant was supposed to be awarded in July, and we only heard about it three weeks ago. It depends on how quickly the vendors work on the projects."

He expected the entire project to be done by July 1.