SOUTHWICK – Earlier this week, the Select Board signed an agreement with the City of Westfield to have a study conducted to see if it would be feasible for Southwick and Westfield to partner with a regional emergency communications center.
According to Karl Stinehart, Town of Southwick’s Chief Administrative Officer, Southwick and Westfield have been discussing the possibility of having a study done for the past few years.
“We don’t want people to draw any conclusions,” said Select Board Vice-Chairman Russ Fox. “It’s just a study.”
In order for the study to officially happen, it’s being submitted through a grant application to the Massachusetts State 911 Department. Nina Barsczc, the Dispatch Administrator for Westfield Public Safety, will be submitting the grant application in hopes that the State 911 Department accepts the application and provides funding for the study for the FY (Fiscal Year) 2020. The deadline for the application to be sent to the state is March 1.
If the application is accepted and the study occurs, Southwick Chief of Police Kevin Bishop is unsure whether regionalizing their dispatch center would be a benefit until the study becomes a reality. Despite that, he’s eager to discover the results.
“We’re just very interested to see what the study will indicate,” said Bishop.
Currently, Southwick and Westfield each has their own dispatch center that operates 24 hours per day and seven days a week.