Southwick Police awarded grants for dispatch center

SOUTHWICK – This week, the Select Board approved a grant that the Southwick Police Department received earlier this month.

On January 2, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security informed Southwick Chief of Police Kevin Bishop that the Southwick Police Department had received a State 911 Grant of $37,905 that’s part of the State 911 Department Support and Incentive Grant program.

In order for an applicant to be eligible for the grant, they have to be an existing regional public safety answering point or regional emergency communication center that’s expanding.

Southwick Chief of Police Kevin Bishop discussed the grants his department is receiving. (WNG File Photo)

The program is designed to help public safety dispatch centers throughout the commonwealth that have primary 911 systems in place.

“These funds will be used for assisting in the cost of personnel for dispatch,” said Bishop.

According to Bishop, the department is awarded the State 911 Grant on an annual basis, but usually receives $25,000. For Fiscal Year 2019, they were given an increased amount due to Southwick’s dispatch center now accepting wireless phone calls for emergencies, which has an increased cost.

Bishop added that the department will be able to use the funding at any point now since it came into effect on January 2.

The Southwick Police Department is also being awarded another State 911 Grant of $10,000. Although the Select Board hasn’t been able to accept the funding yet, this additional grant is an E911 training grant. The money is to be used for police departments to give their officers 16 hours of additional training for this fiscal year. The funding also covers the course registration for the hours of training. The Select Board is expected to accept the funding for the training grant at an upcoming Select Board meeting.

According to the Massachusetts 911 Department, an applicant is eligible if they’re a primary public safety answering point, a regional public safety answering point, a regional secondary public safety answering point, or a regional emergency communications center.

“This is just a great funding source for the Southwick public safety dispatch center to help us meet our goals every year of 16 additional hours of training,” said Bishop.

For more information on the grants, contact the Southwick Police Department at 413-569-5348.

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