The Washington State Patrol (WSP) operates the only statewide law enforcement communications center. All statewide and several federal law enforcement agencies contract with WSP for law enforcement dispatch duties. Agencies include the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources, State Parks, Liquor Control Board, and the US Forest Service. Agencies prefer to contract with WSP for dispatch duties simply because it is a lot easier then contracting with the 39 county dispatch centers. However WSP charges a fee for every time a law enforcement officer from an agency I listed uses their radio. These fees range from $2.5-3.5 (depending on the agency) per “click” of the microphone, so just for one officer to sign on to duty costs between $5-7 since there are several transmissions required.
There are two issues I see with this.
1. A state agency should not be charging another state agency for services
2. I know for a fact that law enforcement chiefs from the agencies I listed have told their officers to use their radios less because of the financial issues. This means that officers are putting themselves in dangerous situations simply because of the budget. In a city or county every time an officer steps out of their vehicle they notify dispatch, officers for the agencies I listed do not do so because it would have astronomical costs for their agency.
I propose that WSP no longer require a fee for state agencies to use their dispatching services. Why should one state agency charge a fee to another state agency? It’s simply a waste of dollars, money that is allocated to one agency is actually going to WSP, and that is wrong! I have no problem with WSP charging non-state agencies such as the US Forest Service Law Enforcement since they are not a state agency. But WSP is putting those agencies officers in dangerous situations simply because of money.
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