Editorial: Region readier for emergencies with Worcester-Leicester dispatch center

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Almost everyone can think of a time they called 911, or can imagine a moment when they might. When life suddenly isn’t normal, the quickness and professionalism available at close hand are a marvel.

Residents in Worcester and Leicester now have a state-of-the-art, joint dispatch center that they’ll hope to never call — but that will be ready if they need to.

Dispatchers serve as key links between the public and emergency responders. For many years, Worcester’s crew of about 50 fielded calls from cramped quarters in the police station. The handful of dispatchers in Leicester have also long worked out of that town’s police station, performing other administrative duties when the lines were quiet.

With this new, dedicated facility — a large and light-filled structure at 2 Coppage Drive in Worcester, close to the airport and the Leicester border — the dispatchers’ working environment improves dramatically. It is difficult, if not impossible, to properly calculate how important that is for a stressful job that requires focus and judgement.

Break rooms, spacious work stations and other amenities are designed to serve the employees well so they are better able to do the same for the public.

More directly impacting safety, the center comes with a $7 million upgrade to digital radio transmissions. Gone, officials say, are the dead spots and static of Worcester’s older radio system. When ticking seconds are critical, the public is clearly served better when dispatchers’ communications with police, fire and ambulance personnel are smoother.

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