Small steps for public safety

Perhaps Grand Junction residents will accept a plan for funding a public safety facility if the city can find a way to accomplish that without raising taxes.

That’s not a given, of course, because of this community’s historic aversion to increased government spending and the current state of the economy. Those who participated in public meetings or polls regarding new public safety facilities this year stressed that not raising taxes should be at the top of the city’s priority list.

In response, city officials and the Grand Junction City Council are considering proposals for a new police headquarters and 911 dispatch center that are much scaled back from what voters rejected in 2008 — $30 million instead of $98 million.

And one of the proposals for funding the facility is to issue bonds that might be repaid using revenue that would be available to the city once the 29 Road overpass is completed in 2012.

It’s a clear indication that city staff and the council are listening to what city residents have told them, while recognizing the need to improve and enlarge current police and dispatch facilities.

That need is real, as most local residents have recognized for some time. The old police headquarters is crowded, has outdated and insufficient space for interviewing victims and suspects. Moreover, the current arrangement allows victims to encounter suspects when they come to talk to police. The dispatch center is overcrowded, with a patchwork of cords and computer connections snaking across floors. Evidence storage could present chain-of-custody issues for prosecutions.

The latest discussion by the City Council represents another small step toward meeting that need. We hope the vast majority of city residents will recognize it as such and support the city’s renewed efforts.


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