To the Editor, 

Once again, the decision about whether or not to move our Police and Fire Dispatch to the State’s Regional Communication Center in Middleton, is before the Board of Selectmen, (1/19/21).  In the past, Manchester has officially declined to join this dispatch center.  Where is the pressure to reconsider this choice coming from and why? 

The Center opened in 2013, intending to serve 13 communities, but was plagued by equipment, technology, and management failures from the beginning, and was taken over from the Sheriff’s Department by the State in 2019.  To date, only 5 communities have joined (Beverly joined briefly, then sued to get out), Amesbury intends to withdraw, and that will leave only Middleton itself, Essex, Wenham and Topsfield.  No other communities have joined, despite the new offer of “Free” services.  

At some point, yet to be determined, the Board of Selectmen will ask for public input on this issue.  There are of course “pros" (see the new Fire Chief’s remarks), and “cons" (see Police Chief Fitzgerald’s comments, who went through this the first time). 

Do your research now, ask questions, and be ready to voice your opinion on this latest foray in the regionalization and urbanization of our Town profile.