LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - The truth about the 'buzz' of 24/7 coverage

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Citizens of Walla Walla County are served 24/7 by the Sheriff's Office and have for the 20-plus years I have been at the Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Jackson and then Sheriff Humphreys implemented a "cost saving" program for the citizens, which is very simple.

Deputies take their vehicles home and deputies live in: Touchet, Prescott, Watisburg, Burbank, College Place, Walla Walla and other areas in-between. If a call occurs that needs an immediate response by a deputy, one is called out and in nearly all instances will get to the call quicker even than if a deputy is still on shift somewhere else in the county.

Let us remember that the county is nearly 1,300 square miles in size. A call for service in Waitsburg, when a deputy is on the edge of College Place, will take the deputy at least 20 minutes to get there. A resident Waitsburg deputy will get there in around five minutes after being called out.

Never in my 20 years has a call gone unresponded to; currently Capt. White makes sure of that. I researched our calls for service, while designing patrol shifts, and the short time period when a deputy is not patrolling does not affect our service to the citizens, but does save money.

To provide 24/7 patrol coverage you would need at least three to five additional deputies to cover the county. In this current economic climate a $500,000 increase in the budget to do this is simply not going to happen.

For instance the city of Spokane may lay off 35 officers and I am hearing of other jurisdictions that are also laying off officers. Most all jurisdictions are hurting for money including Walla Walla County and city. Citizens please take note though; we would all like more deputies at the Sheriff's Office so if an increase in your taxes is OK, please let us know.

In reality though, don't vote for promises that simply can't be kept, vote for Bill White, who is living within a budget and knows how to be fiscally responsible.

Gary Bolster
Waitsburg

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