Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Several years ago, someone, who shall remain anonymous, sold the Town Council and the people with the idea that the Lisbon Communication Center functions the same as Androscoggin County Dispatch.  As a result, the taxpayers have been paying for our Communication Center with tax dollars thinking this was true.  When in fact, it is a myth created to satisfy one man’s ego.

There are incredible differences in these two units.  The first difference is that the Androscoggin County Dispatch is a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) which receives all emergency 911 calls whether by cell phone or land line.  In order to track and support these calls, the Maine Public Safety Department issued the Androscoggin County Dispatch a NEXGEN 911 system.  The Lisbon Communication Center does not receive emergency 911 calls DIRECTLY and are NOT a PSAP so they do not have this system.

The second and more important difference is that Androscoggin Country Dispatch has state trained 911 operators to better support the residents of Androscoggin County.  These 911 operators are also trained as Emergency Medical Dispatchers.  The Lisbon Communication Center personnel are neither trained as 911 operators by the state nor are currently qualified as Emergency Medical Dispatchers.  This is a critical distinction in an emergency situation.  Androscoggin County Dispatchers are highly qualified to provide the best support in an emergency situation to the people of Androscoggin County not Lisbon Communication Center.

The Lisbon Communication Center functions in an emergency situation by dispatching OUR First Responders after the Androscoggin County Dispatch has notified them of an emergency situation by relaying the information.  This is an unnecessary step in the process of saving lives and property but is required because the Town Council mandates it.  Previous Town Council’s determined that letting Androscoggin County Dispatch notify OUR First Responders directly would speed up the process and save the taxpayers significant tax dollars (well over $100,000 annually).  However, Chief Brooks put on a dog and pony show and the Town Council voted to stop the effort of working with the Sheriff’s Department to have the Androscoggin County Dispatch provide ALL Lisbon’s emergency services directly.

This year the taxpayer’s are going to be forced to pay approximately $363,102.00 to operate the Lisbon Communication Center with personnel that are not qualified as state approved 911 Operators or currently qualified as Emergency Medical Dispatchers so what are we paying these individuals for?  Simply put “Communications Specialist”!  Once they are notified of an emergency situation by the Androscoggin County Dispatch, they notify OUR First Responders.

This process could be streamlined and would be much more cost effective by simply having the Androscoggin County Dispatch notify OUR First Responders directly.

Larry Fillmore

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