Chief Timothy J. Bradshaw
50 School St.
Taunton, MA 02780
Chief Edward James Walsh
23 Summer St.
Taunton, MA 02780
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Taunton Police and Fire Departments Take Major Step in Modernizing Dispatch Operations
TAUNTON — Fire Chief Timothy J. Bradshaw and Police Chief Edward James Walsh report that the city’s public safety agencies have taken a major step in improving and modernizing emergency communications in Taunton.
With major upgrades to the technology and equipment inside the 911 call center, located at the Taunton Fire Department headquarters on School Street, dispatchers are now able to streamline emergency calls for both police and fire service in Taunton. As of Monday, Dec. 11, a Taunton Police officer has been assigned to work inside the retooled dispatch center at all times. This means that emergency call takers and dispatchers for the entire city of Taunton will be at the same location, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in line with national best practices.
“This is something that we have been aggressively working toward as a way to vastly improve the communication between both departments and the public,” Chief Bradshaw said. “Dispatchers for both fire and police have been fully trained on how to use the new system and we are now literally working alongside each other, just like we do when we respond to the thousands of calls we get each year.”
Previously, police and fire dispatchers and call takers were located at their respective stations in different parts of the city. The integration will streamline and improve communications, minimize miscommunication, and bring Taunton more in line with best practices and recommendations made by an independent report earlier this year.
The improvements come after the city received the results of an independent administrative review of the events of May 10, 2016. Motor vehicle crashes and stabbings at the Silver City Galleria and on Myricks Street, resulted in the deaths of two people and several injuries before the suspect was shot and killed by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy. The City and Mayor Thomas Hoye, Jr commissioned Ryan Strategies Group LLC (RSG) the following month to review the incidents and look closely at Taunton’s 911 system, its dispatch center, and its emergency medical dispatch procedures.
The final report from RSG recommended that major improvements be made in how the city handles the 18,000 emergency calls it gets each year. The city had been using two independent computer-assisted dispatch (CAD) systems – one each for the police and fire departments. The city has already implemented a new centralized CAD system that integrates fire and police emergency calls.
“Prior to centralizing the two systems, fire department dispatchers would take all 911 calls that came into the city, including police calls. They would then have to forward the calls to our dispatch center at the police station,” Chief Walsh said. “That is no longer the case. Our dispatchers will now be able to immediately assist residents calling 911 without delay.”
This is the latest in a string of improvements planned for the city’s emergency communications center. The ultimate goal is for the city to have a centralized emergency dispatch center that includes police, fire and emergency medical services, all under one roof. Plans are currently in the works to find a location for such a call center.