County Should Cooperate…

Dear Editor,

Regional 9-1-1 will save money and lives by supporting fast, cooperative emergency responses. Contrary to some comments, conversations on regionalizing 9-1-1 operations were initiated more than two years ago in Bonner County. Unfortunately, progress stalled.

According to former Bonner County Technology Director Bill Harp, in 2016 Bonner County won a state grant to fund a key component of 9-1-1 regionalization. Due to inaction by Commissioners, the $127,000.00 grant has not been executed, and the county will likely have to return the funds.

I spent my career managing telecommunication infrastructure in the technology industry. I started out climbing poles and ended up delivering high-quality service at far lower than average cost for AT&T as Operations Manager for Oregon. 

It is unacceptable that critical public safety projects have been ignored. 9-1-1 technologies are complex, and vital. Realistically, regionalization will take years. 

The county’s current proposal to charge other jurisdictions for the current 9-1-1, contrary to existing agreements, is ill advised. Funding should be reconsidered as part of a broader 9-1-1 regional plan. If I am elected in November, you will see attention to these issues and strong collaboration on behalf of local and regional public safety. 

Steve Lockwood
Sandpoint

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