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Please join me in voting "yes" on the proposed 911 service district for Benton County.

As former law enforcement officer and retired sheriff, I can tell you firsthand how critical this measure is. Over the years as we tried to improve and implement new technology, we were hamstrung by not enough capital and not enough dispatchers. Even maintaining the aging equipment was financially challenging, resulting in agencies having to devote more of their budget to the 911 system.

When I was still sheriff we collectively began looking at the possibility of a service district for 911 and saw it as an equitable and fair way to distribute dispatch costs through the agencies. Deschutes County has had a 911 service district since 1988 and has reportedly been able to provide the financial means necessary to provide critical dispatch services.

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Benton County residents were fortunate to receive federal grants over the years to build and add radio towers along with accompanying technology. While the grants paid for the development, the grants did not pay for maintenance, replacement, or new software. That cost came from all the agencies within Benton County. Without a service district, dispatch costs will continue to bog down each agencies' ability to support not only the first responders, but their ability to respond the needs of the county residents. The 911 service district will allow the equipment to be maintained while implementing new technology, thereby keeping both the public and public safety throughout the county safer than before.

Diana Simpson

Corvallis (Sept. 27)

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