The state continues to encourage cities and towns to study formation of regional emergency dispatch centers, which are often viewed as a means to improve 911 services and save cities and towns money.
But one town in the region recently nixed the idea.
Spencer had been part of a proposed five-town Central Regional Emergency Communication Center to be housed in Oxford. Charlton, Southbridge and Sturbridge also were part of the plan.
But last week, the Spencer Board of Selectmen voted to withdraw from the study.
Spencer Town Administrator Adam Gaudette said not wanting to close the police station, and consideration for the tasks dispatchers perform for the chief and department, weighed heavily on the board’s decision.
Dispatchers man the police station, and the Spencer board noted that Spencer’s lockup serves as a regional facility for smaller, surrounding towns. The board didn’t want Spencer to give up that responsibility, the administrator said.
The Spencer board suggested that regional dispatch would amount to no savings realized if it had to hire administrative help to pick up the tasks dispatchers perform, Mr. Gaudette said.
Southbridge Police Chief Shane D. Woodson said he remains supportive of the proposal, with the caveat that the Southbridge station remain open 24 hours, seven days a week.