Bridgewater selectmen want a meeting with the head of the Massachusetts Department of Correction to discuss a “breakdown in communication” after last month’s escape of a prisoner from the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater.

Selectmen want a meeting with the head of the Massachusetts Department of Correction to discuss a “breakdown in communication” after last month’s escape of a prisoner from the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater.


“The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss what we believe to be an urgent and serious public safety concern,” Selectmen Chairman Christopher Flynn wrote in a letter to DOC Commissioner Harold W. Clarke.


Manson Brown, 51, was reported missing from the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater at an hourly inmate check at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 27. He remains at large.


But some residents did not get word through reverse 911 calls that Brown, who was serving time for armed robbery and facing rape charges, was on the loose until nearly 3 a.m.


Local officials said some of that delay was legitimate but some of it was unacceptable.


Fire Chief George Rogers Jr., who doubles as the town’s emergency management director, said the DOC did not notify local officials of the escape until after the prison sounded the alarm at 8:20 p.m. after performing multiple head counts. When the neighborhood siren went off, police were inundated with 911 calls asking what was going on.


“At that point, we really didn’t know,” Rogers said.


Rogers said he immediately went down to the Old Colony facility, arriving within 10 minutes of the alarm, asking to be admitted to the command center behind prison walls.


But despite showing his credentials, he was forced to wait on the sidelines for an hour. He finally returned to the Fire Department without the details needed to send out a reverse 911 call, Rogers said.


“It was unacceptable. The delay in notifying the town and residents was unacceptable,” Rogers said. “By the time we got the information, it was after 10 p.m., and I didn’t have the information about the alleged rape charges or that he’d escaped before.”


“We attempted to get this information right out of the gate, but we were behind the curve,” Rogers said.


Rogers said he has had several meetings with the state since the incident.


“We want our questions answered and a plan of action to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said.


Rogers made the request for the reverse 911 call to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, which provides the service, at 10:34 p.m. on Nov. 27, according to sheriff’s spokesperson Sara Lavoie.


Lavoie said the sheriff’s office began placing the calls just a half-hour after the faxed request was received from Rogers.


But the reverse 911system can only handle about 1,000 calls every 15 minutes and had to make 15,000 calls. She said the calls were placed between 11:05 p.m. Friday and 2:50 a.m. Saturday.


The Enterprise