Franklin County Emergency Communications System Oversight Committee


The Franklin County Emergency Communications System Oversight Committee oversees construction and maintenance of a regional interoperable communications system linking police, fire, emergency medical services, and dispatch communications throughout and beyond the Franklin County region. Committee membership consists of a representative from the Franklin County Police Chiefs Association, the Franklin County Fire Chiefs Association, the Franklin County Emergency Medical Services Committee, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments Executive Committee, Tri-State Fire Mutual Aid, Shelburne Dispatch Control, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. The Committee meets monthly.

Radio System Trouble
If you experience an issue while using the radio system in Franklin County, please use this Radio System Trouble Ticket to let us know. The radio system manager will contact you within 48 hours to confirm that he is working on the issue you reported.

Franklin County Emergency Communication System:

UPDATED May 21, 2019

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) requested the FCECS Oversight Committee create and submit a draft migration plan in the event the County officially chooses to migrate. As of this email, EOTSS is reviewing the draft plan and will be discussing next steps with representatives from FRCOG and the FCECS Oversight Committee in late May/early June. EOTSS is using this plan to assess how the migration of Franklin County could fit into the larger state-wide CoMIRS project schedule and funding.  We do not anticipate that this is the final rollout plan.  We assume that negotiation and changes will be required.  That said, we want to share our initial thinking with you. It is anticipated that a county-wide meeting will be held in mid-summer with representatives from EOTSS attending.

When deciding on the order of the roll out plan the FCECS Oversight Committee used the following underlying principles.

  • The geographical area with the best CoMIRS coverage is along the I91 corridor. As such, this area is considered the least probable for coverage problems so was selected to migrate first.
  • The next best coverage area is in the western part of the County.
  • The eastern part of the county should be last to migrate because much of it is currently outside the existing digital system coverage area.
    • The state-wide radio system we may migrate to uses digital technology. Currently, the only area on the state-wide system using digital is the State Police Troop B. Unfortunately, the MSP Troop area of operations do not follow the county borders. As such, portions of Troop C (roughly Worchester County) are located in Franklin County and use analog technology. The objective of the CoMIRS project is to transition all of Massachusetts over to digital.
  • The original state-wide system design had less of an emphasis on producing robust in-building coverage because it was originally anticipated to be an upgrade for state police use only and they have less in-building need.  The revision to the CoMIRS engineering study to include Franklin County and its fire needs now addresses in-building coverage. We have been told that technological solutions will be identified and instituted to improve in-building issues but recognize this may proceed at a slower pace.  With this in mind, the Oversight Committee is proposing to migrate police departments at an earlier phase than most fire department and EMS agencies.

It is important to state that this is a draft plan. The migration order and schedule stated in the attached document may not accurately represent the final outcome. This document serves as a starting point for discussion between EOTSS and the FRCOG/FCECS Oversight Committee.

Due to the limited amount of time the Oversight Committee had to produce this draft plan, some assumptions were made about when particular departments or towns would prefer to be transitioned. If you have concerns about your department’s early placement in the plan, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

If you have any questions or comments relating to public safety communications in Franklin County please contact Linda Dunlavy or myself. The FRCOG has established a strong relationship with the project management team at EOTSS. Together we have established a plan to ensure efficient, recorded, and factual communication is maintained during this process.

FCECS-CoMIRS Draft Migration Plan

UPDATED April, 26 2019

Franklin County Public Safety Radio Update April 26 2019

UPDATED March 28, 2019:

In February FRCOG representatives met with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) along with our State and Federal legislative delegation in Northampton. The goal for this meeting was to increase EOPSS’ commitment to bringing on Franklin County’s public safety stakeholders to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Interoperable Radio System. At that meeting, EOPSS reiterated that they understood  Franklin County’s issues with its current system and is working to make us a priority. In March the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security sent FRCOG the statement of work for the engineering study that is need for the project to move forward. EOPSS made numerous changes to the original document. Those changes made it clear that Franklin County is included in the engineering study and for the vendor to make us a priority when developing the schedule.

The FRCOG was recently told that a vendor, Mission Critical Partners, was selected and a kick off meeting was held. A that meeting the statement of work for the CoMIRS project was reviewed and updated. Franklin County figured prominently in the edits to the original statement of work. This means that the engineering study will include how the current state radio system will need to be altered to bring Franklin County public safety stakeholders onto CoMIRS. You can read the statement of work by clicking on this Link.

In the coming months the public safety community and town officials will need to decide on the future of emergency communications in Franklin County. To put it bluntly, the current system is failing. It is not meeting the communication needs for those who protect us. In an effort to inform you on the current situation prior to making this very important decision, please review the newest fact/update sheet by clicking on this link.

Sample FCECS Assessment Costs if Bonding for New System

Related Documents

Oversight Committee Operating Procedures
System Policies

Meeting Minutes
FCECS Minutes July 2019
FCECS Minutes June 2019
FCECS Minutes May 2019
FCECS Minutes April 2019
FCECS Minutes March 2019
FCECS Minutes February 2019
FCECS Minutes from January 2019
FCECS Minutes December 2018
FCECS Minutes November 2018
FCECS Minutes October 2018
FCECS Minutes September 2018
FCECS Minutes August 2018

For older minutes, please contact Dan Nietsche. Meeting agendas are posted on the Meetings & Events calendar on the date of the meeting.