Thank you

911 dispatchers were honored by the state of Oregon this week.

Ask and you shall receive.

After the Curry County Sheriff’s Office requested an upgrade for aging radio dispatch equipment at a board of commissioners meeting last month, the board unanimously voted to approve the roughly $700,000 modernization at a June 23 meeting — but not without a debate.

The dispatch system is used by multiple police and fire agencies within the county to get first responders to an emergency call for service. Among those using the system are Gold Beach and Port Orford police and fire departments, Coos Forest Protective Association and the sheriff’s office. The Brookings police and fire departments operate on their own dispatch system.

During the meeting, Commissioner Chris Paasch said the current equipment is more than 20 years old and malfunctions often. Additionally, he said it is difficult to find parts to fix the communication system, as new parts are no longer manufactured and used parts are hard to find.

Before the vote, Commissioner Court Boice recommended holding off on approving the upgrade, which will likely be a Motorola system, to see if other companies could make a lower bid. Boice said he might have a lead on a different company with a lower bid.

“Just give me a couple of weeks to get all the information to you before we spend $700,000...two weeks isn’t going to be the end of the world,” said Boice.

Paasch said he was worried about waiting, as the system might break before an upgrade could be made.

“We cannot have someone out in the field who needs help and cannot call for it,” said Paach.

Additionally, Paasch said other sheriff’s departments and first responders use Motorola equipment, and he did not think a different system would be as reliable.

A common thread in these meetings; Commissioner John Herzog became the decision-maker between the two at-odds commissioners.

Herzog suggested approving the upgrade to the Motorola equipment on the condition that Boice be given one week to investigate his lead on a lower bid with a different company.

Herzog’s suggestion was then voted on and passed unanimously.

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