Number of emergency dispatch sites focus of hearing

Posted Jan. 17, 2012, at 7:30 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Managers and directors of Maine’s emergency dispatch centers will gather before a legislative committee Wednesday to show support for the adoption of a study concluding that the state’s 911 call answering centers should not be consolidated or reduced to fewer than 15 to 17.

There currently are 26 such centers in Maine.

LD 1614, An Act to Create Efficiency in E-9-1-1 Call Centers, will be heard Wednesday before the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, according to a news release issued Tuesday by Owen Smith, president of the Maine Emergency County Communications Association and director of the Waldo Regional Communications Center.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in Room 211 at the Cross State Office Building in Augusta.

The aim of the Kimball Report, which was commissioned by the Maine Legislature in 2009 and published in January 2010, was to determine the optimal number of Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs, for the state.

After months of meetings with stakeholders, statistical analysis and geographic and population reviews, the report found that the best balance of service delivery and cost distribution would be provided by 15 to 17 PSAPs statewide.

Among those expected to speak in support of the Kimball Report’s adoption are Smith, Waldo County Commissioner Amy Fowler, Somerset Regional Communications Center Director Michael Smith, Penobscot Regional Communications Center Executive Director James Ryan, Hancock County Regional Communications Center Director Renee Wellman, Knox Regional Communications Center Director Lynwood Lothrop, Sagadahoc Regional Communications Center Director Brodie Hinckley, Lincoln County Regional Communications Center Director Tim Pellerin and Lewiston-Auburn Emergency Communications System Director Phyllis Gamache-Jensen.

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