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  • 911 Dispatch

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A move to consolidate all state police
    dispatching and 911 services into four barracks should be completed
    by the end of the year.
    Middlesex dispatching will move to Williston later this summer,
    and Bradford and St. Johnsbury's dispatching will go to Derby later
    in the fall, Capt. James Baker said.
    "Our goal is to finish off this project before winter," said
    Baker, the State Police assistant field force commander in charge
    of the consolidation.
    Plans to consolidate the dispatching services into the
    Rockingham, Rutland, Williston and Derby barracks began back in
    1996.
    Baker said it was too expensive to upgrade all 12 barracks'
    dispatching centers with new technology.
    While the state police have hailed the effort, some rescue
    squads and residents have expressed concern that knowledge of
    neighborhood streets will be lost when dispatching services are
    moved away.
    And the change also means that some barracks, such as Bethel and
    Middlesex along Interstate 89, will be closed to the public in the
    evening. People won't be able to go to those locations for
    protection during an emergency, critics have said.
    However, Baker says dispatchers are better trained and can use
    sophisticated computerized mapping systems.
    "I don't know of a case where services were delayed in getting
    emergency personnel to a scene," he said.
    Emergency stops at the barracks are also rare. "I think that's
    a moot point now, with the invention of a cell phone," Baker said.
    Amy Estey, administrator for White River Valley Ambulance
    Service, had been an opponent of the consolidation plan.
    She feared that her Bethel-based rescue squad members would
    spend more time looking at a 911 map book to find an accident scene
    than preparing for the emergency awaiting them there.
    That has happened, she said, but said overall that the shift has
    been "positive."
    State police dispatchers are receiving advanced training,
    including how to instruct callers on starting CPR or controlling
    bleeding, said Estey, who is excited about that aspect of the
    change.
    Some state Police troopers also have had their own complaints
    about the consolidation.
    Rockingham dispatchers unfamiliar with the Bethel area don't
    understand the distance between Hancock and Hartland, for example,
    said Sgt. William Harkness, a Bethel patrol commander and State
    Police union president.
    Concern over a lack of local knowledge is one complaint Harkness
    said he's getting from troopers and the community. However, those
    are concerns that will be worked out over time, he said.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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