Re: Bill to track commitment center calls clears committee published 02/04/2008
Your article regarding HB 2756 primarily sponsored by State Representative Kelley implied that this legislation would address a very serious issue that Special Committment Center staff alerted him to. However, it did not explain if there has ever been a problem in the past 10 years from residents making harmful calls, nor did it disclose that this call logging requirement would cost us taxpayers nearly half a million dollars over the next five years.
Public safety should be a top priority for our elected officials, but we must require rational actions to assure that monies are available for the most pressing threats. These residents are under commitment and cannot come and go as they please. They are locked up on McNeil Island. If they were to harass someone by phone, one would hope that a complaint by the victim would be swiftly investigated and prosecuted.
Rep. Kelley’s bill indicates that DSHS leadership and the Governor’s office failed to address an obvious security gap. SCC’s website (www1.dshs.wa.gov/hrsa/scc/Safety.htm) claims that stringent security measures are already in place.
This seemingly simple requirement of logging calls requires a new phone system and adds another new full time employee to manage the phone system. That should have been disclosed in the article.
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