County Takes Stand Against Loss of DA
The Moore County Board of Commissioners has raised objections to pending state and federal mandates.
At a meeting last month, the commissioners adopted two resolutions — one objecting to a state legislative proposal to eliminate the county’s prosecutorial district, the other opposing a Federal Communications Commission order requiring costly upgrades in emergency communications systems.
“It just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Chairman Nick Picerno said in response to the state budget cutting measure that would eliminate the district attorney’s office here. “I would like to know the intent behind it.”
District Attorney Maureen Krueger outlined the problems faced in multi-county districts, ranging from the time loss to the additional travel cost for law enforcement officers. In addition, she cited the availability of her offices both to law enforcement officers and the public at large.
“Our office is always open to law enforcement officers,” Krueger said. “We’re accessible to the public.”
As DA in a largely rural county, Krueger said she does more than just administer the office. She works in the courtroom, substituting in all aspects of the judicial system. In a typical day, she may be filling in for assistant DAs in traffic court, civil court or superior court.
If the county district is moved into a multi-county district, she said Moore County will become less efficient and public safety will be threatened.
“This is not about me,” Krueger said, adding that she is speaking from previous experience as a defense attorney and an assistant DA as well as district attorney.
Krueger also distributed information about other proposed budget cuts for such programs as Sentencing Services and Day Reporting Centers, which save taxpayer money by providing low-cost alternatives to incarceration.
County Attorney Misty Leland read a resolution she had crafted to express the board’s opposition to the proposed change. Commissioner Tim Lea made the motion to adopt the resolution, and approval was unanimous.
This resolution is directed to state Sen. Harris Blake and state Reps. Jamie Boles and Joe Hackney.
The other resolution, also adopted unanimously, deals with a subject the board has tackled previously in at least two work sessions as well as a planning retreat.
This is a mandate from the FCC calling for all private radio system users to convert to narrowband voice channels by Jan. 1, 2013. The mandate applies to municipal, state and local public safety systems operating below 512 megahertz.
Although the narrowband requirement allows additional channels to exist within the same space in the radio spectrum, county officials argue that the present radio system works just fine and it would cost almost $5 million to convert to a new system.
The resolution notes that such an expenditure would be especially difficult “at a time of economic distress.”
However, without the conversion the county faces the possible loss of radio communications among emergency responders, including law enforcement, fire, rescue and animal control.
Copies are being forwarded to U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr and Congressman Howard Coble of the 6th District.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at florence@the-
More like this story