(PHOTO AND STORY: KHQ.COM)
If you received a ballot in your mailbox recently you probably noticed a proposition that has major implications for law enforcement and first responders.
Proposition 1 aims to help police and firefighters keep their communication and dispatch operations in check.
One of those crucial services is Crime Check. Should Proposition 1 fail, it would mean that service would be severely reduced.
This story got a lot of attention on our KHQ Facebook page. We gathered three common themes from the comments and took those questions to Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.
Q: Why do we even use Crime Check? It doesn’t work.
A: “Well what I say to those folks who say it doesn't do anything is take a look at all those people who are arrested based on that Crime Check report that gives us that one little piece of info that breaks that burglary ring.”
“Without Crime Check I have no way of knowing definitively where to take resources and how to help the community.”
Q: Should Crime Check be overhauled or restructured?
A: “We have actually looked at different models. There is a way to reconfigure, but it's going to take a total restructuring of the way we dispatch and the way we take calls.”
Q: What would happen if Crime Check went away?
A: “When Crime Check went away in 2004 our ability to know what was going on as far as crime in the community plummeted. And it mirrors exactly in our crime stats. Crime went way down. When Crime Check came back crime went back up, leveled off, and it's been trending downward since.”
The county is asking for the approval of a small portion of local sales tax to go toward funding these communications. How small are we talking? In all, it's one tenth of one percent. So for every $10, the county receives a penny.
Crime Check takes over 240,000 calls each year including property crime, medical needs and even emergency calls.
You should have received a ballot in the mail to vote on Proposition 1. You have to mail in the ballot by April 25.
This proposition doesn't only affect the city of Spokane. If it passes, all the cities inside Spokane County would get to keep the programs like Crime Check that we benefit from now.
For a county by county voter guide for April's special elections, click here: https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/research/2017-Voters-Pamphlet.aspx