At last night’s Town Council meeting, a room full of people spoke against consolidating the Lisbon Communication Center with Androscoggin County Dispatch. The original question was whether or not to move forward with this project. It was not whether or not to drop this project?
I listened to everyone speak and was totally amazed as to how very little any of them knew what they were talking about. It was apparent they were taking there directions from Chief Brooks. This included former Councilors Bowie, LaRochelle and Ward, all whom protected Chief Brooks and this program for years at the cost of the taxpayers.
The first comment, I heard was “if it’s not broke why are we trying to fix it”. There are three key advantages to consolidating dispatch and they are:
1. Increasing the response time of First Responders.
2. Increasing survival of our residents.
3. Eliminating an unnecessary cost to taxpayers.
There are more reasons but these are the key ones that should be important to everyone.
Another comment was that three other municipals chose Lisbon Communication Center over L/A 911 or Androscoggin County Dispatch because they did not trust the other dispatches. This is simply not true. The reason they chose Lisbon Communication Center for dispatching is because Chief Brooks “Low Balled” them. Chief Brooks offered them a rate far below the rate of L/A 911 or Androscoggin County Dispatch. This is easy to verify by looking at the current rate they are paying to Lisbon. Chief Brooks did this to get leverage for this very situation knowing the taxpayers of Lisbon are already footing the bill. If Chief Brooks is allowed to renegotiate these contracts, he will lock the town in such a monnor that the town will never be able to consolidate the communication center.
It was brought out that the project could not use “dark Fiber” for connectivity. This is a true statement because it is new technology and not available yet in this area. Stop and think how Androscoggin County Dispatch is currently connected to the Lisbon Communication Center now. How is Androscoggin County Dispatch relaying 911 calls to the town? It is working well now, so what will change?
Androscoggin County Dispatch is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the county as established by the state. What does this mean to you? It means that all 911 calls are received first by Androscoggin County Dispatch and then relayed to the Lisbon Communication Center. Consolidating the two communication centers is NOT a reflection on the quality of work or personnel in the Lisbon Communication Center but a means to streamline the process in order to provide faster response times in emergency situations. Consolidation means, when a 911 call is received by the Androscoggin County Dispatch they can immediately dispatch Police, Fire and/or medical First Responders instead of relaying the information to Lisbon Communication Center.
Another comment was about Androscoggin County Dispatch being unfamiliar with Lisbon. It does not have to be because OUR Police, Fire and Medical are going to be the ones responding and trust me they know the area. This is another myth started by Chief Brooks to intimidate the residents. Chief Brooks does not want to lose any part of his empire even through it is in the best interest of the community.
Chairman Pesce has stated he is not letting the loud special interest groups take over and yet Chairman Pesce and the Council killed this valuable project instead of just slowing it down. The Town Council buckled to Chief Brooks and his special interest group. It is the responsibility of the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to provide dispatching to the county. Let’s make them do it. I think you call that accountability. The Town of Lisbon pays more than a half million dollars in taxes to the county.