HOULTON — The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office is nearing completion of a $150,000 upgrade to its Dispatch Center located in Houlton. The new upgrades have increased the Sheriff’s Office capacity to provide greater communication capabilities throughout Aroostook County.

In addition, according to Acting County Sheriff Shawn Gillen the new upgrades will allow for the Sheriff’s Office to provide regional dispatching services for more communities.  “We are going live with the Town of Madawaska this week,” and that could not have happened without these essential upgrades,” Gillen said.

Back in April of this year, Radio Communications Management with an office based in Presque Isle, completed an analysis of the Aroostook County dispatch center.  RCM determined the system to be antiquated with failing dispatch hardware and software. RCM completely updated the dispatch to public safety grade hardware and software with immediate support, added the ability to integrate remote agencies via IP Interconnectivity, added fully redundant infrastructure to mitigate any single point of failure, integrated the SO with 5 public safety agencies

“RCM exceeded our expectations in this project and completed it all before our own internal September 1 deadline,” Gillen stated.

In addition to the equipment upgrades, Gillen indicated that the Department will add one more full time Dispatcher in September to provide the adequate coverage needs.  Currently, the Sheriff’s Office provides dispatching services to 15 fire departments; 3 police departments and  2 ambulance services.  The contract with Madawaska is for all of their public safety personnel so that will include their local police, fire and EMS services.  Gillen anticipates this will add approximately 5,000 calls to their existing 13,000 calls per year.

“The Dispatch Center is busy and its an excellent example of regional cooperation in the County to save taxpayer dollars and provide a valuable service for public safety.  Imagine if every community had to staff and man their own dispatch how costly that would be.  The County can provide that service through contracts and its streamlined and efficient,” said County Administrator Ryan D. Pelletier.

“It’s a win-win for both the community and the county,” Gillen added.

For more information, interested communities or individuals should contact Acting Sheriff Gillen at the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Offices at 532-3471.