April 09, 2020

Regional communications still Hancock County issue

ELLSWORTH — The county government has dropped the idea of a countywide regional dispatch center, but municipal managers in Ellsworth, Bucksport and Southwest Harbor are still discussing setting up a centralized communications center just for the towns that are interested.

At its monthly meeting Monday, the Ellsworth City Council voted 6-1 to allow City Manager Tim King to pursue the idea of a mini-regional dispatch center.

The county backed away from regional dispatch after a committee studying the issue told the commissioners there wasn’t enough interest among the 40 towns for a countywide system.

Many of the larger municipalities — including Ellsworth, Bucksport, Southwest Harbor and Bar Harbor — already have their own dispatch centers for fire and police, while the smaller towns receive police dispatch from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

King pointed out that residents or visitors in Hancock County can call 911 for help only from some municipalities. Most towns have separate seven-digit numbers for police, fire, and ambulance service, although all cities and towns are naming their streets and numbering their houses to make locations easier to pinpoint on a map for E-911 service.

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