The joint Sudbury police and fire dispatch center is nearing completion, and with that comes a change both the police and fire chief want the public to know about.
According to a press release issued by the police department, all non-911 calls and business calls made to the fire department will now be answered at the police department.
"As part of the change in location of the fire dispatch to the police station all calls to the fire department will be answered at the police station in the combined public safety dispatch area," the release reads. "Calls intended for the fire department will be forwarded by the Public Safety Dispatchers to the fire station as was always the case with 911 calls."
When calling on the regular non-911 lines to either department, callers will be answered by a public safety dispatcher, who will then forward the call to appropriate public safety department.
As part of a state mandate to streamline 911 procedures and improve response time and public safety, Sudbury is combining its police and fire dispatch centers, as required by the mandate.
The combined dispatch center should enable both departments to overcome some “inherent delays in the current dispatch system between the two departments,” Police Chief Rich Glavin said last year. Such delays are particularly problematic for cell phone callers, who, in a scenario described by Fire Chief Bill Miles, are first patched to State Police, who then patch the callers to Sudbury Police, who may then need to transfer the call once more to the fire department.
In such an event, Miles said, callers frequently are “at minimum, aggravated, and potentially very upset or in a bad situation” while having to repeat the reason for their call several times.
(Elizabeth Leaver contribuned to this report.)