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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Matter of Opinion

Crime Check/Communication: Vote yes

(S-R file photo of a county Crime Check/911 operator taken before Crime Check was downsized in 2002.)

Our editorial today endorsed Proposition 1, a 0.1 percent sales tax that would update the county's emergency communications equipment and restore Crime Check.

With today's soon-to-be obsolete equipment, local firefighters, police and sheriff's deputies often have trouble talking to one another when they're working the same emergency. The resulting risk to them as well as the public is not conscionable.

Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission will not allow local governments to continue using their analog equipment after 2013. Everybody in the country is required to go to a 700-megahertz, narrow-band grid. You don't need to speak the lingo to understand that conversion is not negotiable.

Proposition 1 would give the county funding to make the change, upgrade equipment, restore Crime Check and establish a reverse 911 feature with which authorities could alert residents to neighborhood emergencies. And with respect to other funding sources, the county already has a federal interoperability grant that must be used by 2010. Out of $19.1 million the state had to distribute, $2.3 million came to Spokane County, based on the quality of its plans. In Proposition 1, Spokane County commissioners have offered voters an emergency communications system that's modern, effective and affordable. For 10 cents on a $100 purchase, it's a heck of a buy.

Did you ever use Crime Check?

A Matter of Opinion is really a matter of three opinions – those held by the people responsible for the opinion pages of The Spokesman-Review. Check in regularly to find out what they’re up to, what they think and where they differ and to joust with them if you want.