St. Louis Public Radio News
8:30 am
Fri October 23, 2009

County officials press public to pass tax for emergency radios

St. Louis – St. Louis County emergency officials say Proposition E911 is about protecting the public.

On November 3, county voters will decide whether to approve a new communications system for emergency responders. It would be paid for and maintained with a one-tenth of one percent sales tax increase.

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch said it's long overdue.

"Today we're using the same radios that we used when we got into this business in 1977," Fitch said. "Since that time we've changed our handguns three times, but we're using the same radio system."

Currently the county's 65 police departments and 43 fire departments are not able to communicate with one another because each uses a different radio system.

Officials say revenue from the sales tax increase could only be spent on emergency communications.