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Board opposes closing communication centers

Published 1:05am Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beaufort County is the latest local government to approve a resolution stating its opposition to Gov. Pat McCrory’s plan to close the N.C. State Highway Patrol communication centers in Williamston, Greensboro and Asheville.

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, during its meeting Monday, unanimously approved the resolution. The board joins other county and municipal governments that are opposing the proposal. Last month, the Washington City Council adopted such a resolution.

The resolution approved by the commissioners is similar to the one adopted by the Martin County Board of Commissioners. The Williamston communication center is in Martin County.

The resolution notes that the Williamston center handles about 600 calls a day as it serves 180 troopers who cover 20 counties, many of them along the North Carolina coast. It also notes the Williamston center has been remodeled and upgraded to house the latest telecommunications technology and equipment.
The resolution notes the center is a “key employment center for our neighboring county” and “there is a concern that lives will be lost, due to delayed response time caused by operators in a
communication center centralized in Raleigh becoming overloaded and being unfamiliar with the area.”

Asked April 26 about how the closings and consolidations may affect response times by troopers, Pam Walker, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety, said, “No, we don not any impact on response times.”
Walker addressed the proposed closings.

“This is in the governor’s budget, and out department support’s the governor’s budget,” Walker said April 26. “There were some difficult decisions that had to be made, but it was about efficiencies. This was just a decision that was made. … It was about being able to efficiently run operations, and technology has enabled us to make some decisions that allow us to operate more efficiently.”

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