by Bob Hausman

Those anxious about the state's plans to dispatch all Northeast Kingdom emergency services from the St. Johnsbury office of the Vermont State Police have an opportunity to air their concerns and learn more about the process.

Francis Aumand, director of criminal justice services for the Department of Public Safety, will be on hand Monday night at the Orleans Fire Station to answer questions. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

The meeting arose from an informational request to state Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, R-Essex/Orleans, from the Northeast International Mutual Aid Association, which represents ambulance and fire services in the area.

In response to Illuzzi's inquiry, Commissioner James Walton of the state Department of Public Safety confirmed that the consolidation of VSP dispatch services will most likely result in the transfer of all dispatching services from the Derby station to the St. Johnsbury station.

"The decision was arrived at only after carefully looking at the possibility of consolidating these functions at the Derby station," wrote Walton. The two major contributing factors leading to the St. Johnsbury decision were ownership - and thus expandability of the facility - and the location of the NYNEX switches to handle the Enhanced 911 program, Walton added in his response to Illuzzi.

An existing staffing shortage for dispatch centers coupled with an inability to upgrade and support the technology in 12 locations with available funds was the underpinning factor in the decision, Walton concluded.

Copyright 1997

The Caledonian-Record

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