Even while the storm raged, local officials bickered about who will manage E-911
Dec. 17, 2000
While city and council officials bickered about who will do what for the E-911 service, parts of Lauderdale County nearly buckled under the assault of a sudden storm Saturday. Tornadic winds destroyed homes and personal property, threatening businesses and lives.
As it was, nearly every piece of emergency equipment that was available was hauled into service. Every single able-bodied member of the E-911 staff and probably others we don't even know about yet was summoned into service.
Meridian and Lauderdale County were extraordinarily fortunate that damage from the winds and heavy rains was limited to property. We were extraordinarily fortunate that trained, experienced E-911 personnel remained on the job during the height of the storm and its aftermath and, in fact, handled a variety of other emergency situations at the same time.
We salute their professionalism.
But, if a similar storm rages through Lauderdale County next month, we might not be so fortunate. Political bickering among officials in Lauderdale County and the City of Meridian we use the word "officials" because they don't deserve to be called "leaders" has stymied basic management decisions involving the E-911 service.
One of these days such bickering, lack of coordination and failure to cooperate by our city and county officials are going to cost lives.
Their myopic selfishness, turf-building egomania and incredible lack of concern for the best interests of the people of this community are appalling.
Dodging a bullet
This time, they dodged a bullet. Next time, perhaps with an E-911 service short-staffed, inflicted with low morale and confusion over to whom the staff reports, who knows?
The cost of a human life is too high a price to pay for this sort of careless and unwise political haggling.
A solution to the E-911 controversy must be found immediately.