November is here, which means Puyallup campus students are preparing to cast their votes in this year’s election; and it’s good practice to research the issues before voting.
Students need to be informed about Proposition 1. If police or firefighters have ever helped you or your family in Pierce County, you know how essential an effective radio call can be. At the click of a button police can send more units your way and fire can have aid en route.
It’s not as simple as it may seem though.
The radio communications system in Pierce County is broken. The network is obsolete and by federal order, must be replaced by 2013. The current arrangement doesn’t allow the fire department officials to talk to the police officials, and the police to talk to other agencies.
Here’s an example: if a Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy drives up on a severe car accident in Puyallup, he or she can’t contact Pierce Fire, Puyallup Police or Puyallup Fire. Deputies must have their dispatchers call, which wastes valuable time.
This isn’t the only issue, however.
The current setup is plagued with massive deadzones, some so large that even the powerful transmitters in patrol cars and ambulances can’t reach dispatch.
This resulted in a much delayed response to a shooting in 2009 that injured one Pierce County Deputy and killed another.
One Pierce student says she will vote for Prop 1 to avoid another disaster such as this. She attended school with the daughter of the slain officer.
Prop 1 will raise sales tax in order to pay for this much-needed communications upgrade. According to Fix911.org, the tax will be raised one-tenth of 1 cent. This means that if someone spent $10, he would pay one penny more in tax. The increase will expire as soon as the system is paid for.
That’s a small price to pay.
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