augusta free press news

More to the regional 911 story

Column by Chris Graham

Augusta County Board of Supervisors member Tracy Pyles has been getting a boatload of media attention for his idea to consolidate the 911 call centers in Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro.
One question that I have not seen a single reporter ask yet – what do leaders in Staunton and Waynesboro think of the idea?

I’ve seen Pyles quoted extensively for the whys and wherefores of the idea – which I myself think is a strong one, on paper.
Ah, but I hint to the issue that I learned about when Pyles first raised this matter a couple of years ago – namely, that the two cities relatively recently upgraded their 911 call centers at a great expense to their taxpayers.

So now that they’re being asked by Pyles to go along with a consolidation, they’re understandably not all that receptive.

And no matter how many editorials castigate them for their short-sightedness on this issue, I can’t imagine their positions changing anytime soon.

This could all be very easily resolved if reporters working on stories on this would simply pick up a phone or better yet get out of the office and spend some time in city hall and talk to the people who know what’s going on here.

That’s how we get dialogue going – constructive dialogue, the kind that actually leads to solutions being achieved.

And maybe there is one here yet for the Pyles 911 center consolidation idea – though I don’t see it playing out the way Pyles would like it to anytime soon.

Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.