To The Editor,
I am writing to urge all residents to contact the Board of Selectmen (BOS) to oppose regional dispatch. As has been noted the current system works well, and I can attest from personal experience that police and fire can arrive at a difficult to find location in a few minutes. Years ago, I delivered oil in town and know that a large percentage of homes can be very hard to find. In the past the calls for help I have had to make were dispatched without lengthy discussion of location and imagining the same call ending up with someone in Middleton with no local knowledge who then tries to relay instructions to Manchester is frightening. Remember the children's game of "telephone"?
The Cricket article mentions that the state is offering the service free for the first ten years. What is not mentioned is that it is a ten-year contract that is binding. If everyone is up in arms next year hating the new system, there will be no option out. Every person in a regional town I have spoken with, public safety or private citizen, is unhappy with it. If the BOS had similar conversations, I don't think this would be on the table. I’m wondering why this is not going to be decided at the town meeting, I was told that because it is strictly a financial decision it can be made by the BOS. Years ago after a breakdown on the highway I was given a ride by a state trooper. When I asked him why he was going 40 in the breakdown lane he said because he had four bald tires due to budget cuts. Let's persuade the BOS not to have public safety be compromised because so much money is being spent elsewhere. It's only common sense.
Alec McMullin, Manchester