Some time ago, the federal government mandated updates of the 911 system in Pierce County. Puyallup citizens paid to update while Pierce County, Tacoma and Lakewood declined. Puyallup provides service to other cities and is in compliance.
Time has expired, and jurisdictions have to comply. Those agencies need updates and should for various reasons.
The citizens of Puyallup and their customers should not have to be taxed for upgrading the county, Tacoma and Lakewood’s 911 systems. Problems within their systems are real, but problems with cross communications are exaggerated.
I was on the Tacoma Police Department before LESA. It was supposed to free police officers and cost less. It didn’t. LESA became a large bureaucracy, and now they want to expand. They gobble up tax dollars and are not needed for Puyallup and the cities it serves.
The initial plan is to throw away millions Puyallup paid for its equipment and release its employees. Even if that changed there can be no good that comes from one organization handling communications for smaller cities. The safety of Puyallup’s officers lies in Puyallup’s control of its own 911 system.
Real problems in communications across jurisdictions is relatively nonexistent, otherwise 911 systems would be run statewide by the State Patrol. I believe someone in the county found a way to reach into cities and take taxes that we can no longer use for our cities. We all pay less tax if you just fix your own system.
(Knutsen is a Puyallup City Council member.)