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Police, fire reviews departmental improvements

At one of a series of budget hearings before the Finance Subcommittee, the police and fire departments, along with the animal shelter, spoke to recent improvements and some needed changes.

Police Chief Richard McQuade spoke to how the department has 50 out of 53 positions filled. He cited he recent purchase of body cams as being a reason for the nearly full roster. He also noted how new uniforms had been added help as well.

“It boosted the morale of the guys as they were chanting all around the building” McQuade said at the April 16 meeting.

McQuade added that he hopes to add two sergeant positions as well as more detectives and expand the department’s K-9 officers. 

Fire Chief Christopher Coleman went before the subcommittee to discuss his budget, which total to approximately $7.2 million. He said the department has seen a 6% increase in ambulance calls which has led to more costs associated with running the vehicles. He said the department is responding to three or four calls at a time and maintaining the vehicles is a challenge. 

Coleman spoke to some increases over last fiscal year’s budget, much of which comes from different training programs that he has arranged for the firefighters, such as scuba training. 

Coleman also reviewed a proposal to increase ambulance cost per service. North Attleborough’s ambulance rates are 10-12% lower compared to the rates in the four neighboring communities surveyed, including Easton, Mansfield, Norton and Attleboro.

According to the proposal, adjusting these rates ensures competitive compensation for paramedics and sustains high-quality service. There would be no impact to taxpayers due to costs being billed to insurance providers. No motion was taken on the proposal. 

The Animal Control department also made an appearance at the meeting, but due to the new manager being out of the office until May 20, there was not much discussion as the Assistant Town Manager of North Attleborough is currently in the seat.

Town Manager Michael Borg said this meeting was one of many that the subcommittee will hold over the next few weeks to review each department’s fiscal year 2025 budget proposal. 

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