Plans to Improve Public Safety

Who we are and what we do
We answer and coordinate responses for 911 services for 17 local public safety agencies for all of Kittitas County, including fire, emergency medical service (EMS), police, search and rescue and disaster responses. We serve Kittitas County residents (population nearly 50,000) as well as the many visitors, guests, and travelers who come to the county for recreational opportunities: sightseeing, hunting, snowshoeing, boating, hiking, skiing, camping, kayaking, canoeing, and river floating. Seasonal and weekend visitors can triple and, at times, quadruple our population.

We respond to more than 48,000 calls for 911 services every year.

How we fund 911 service
We are funded through a fee on cell phones and user agency fees. User agency fees increased by 50 percent in the last three years. When local emergency user agencies pay more in fees, it reduces the amount they have for their daily operations, such as emergency personnel, ambulances, and fire engines. This is not a sustainable funding source for the 911 system or user agencies.

Our 911 system requires upgrades to improve public safety
More people living and visiting our county are straining our outdated and aging 911 system. The aging system requires upgrades to radios and towers for police, fire, and EMS to be able to effectively communicate and coordinate responses to emergency calls.

We do not have reliable communication signals in the following areas:
• Cle Elum River Valley, including Suncadia and Yakima River recreational areas
• Alpine and cross-country ski areas
• Rural schools and homes
• Many of the new residential and recreational developments in the county

We have several locations throughout the county where our radios cannot get a signal and we are unable to communicate with first responders. These “radio holes” impact response times, patient care, wildland fire suppression, and rescue operations.

How do we plan to improve public safety?
Our goal is to identify and implement a sustainable funding source to address this countywide safety issue. We are currently exploring funding options that will provide sufficient revenue to fund radio equipment, communication towers, technology improvements, security and other critical infrastructure, and maintenance costs.

This will be a public process and the public will have the opportunity to comment and provide feedback before any decision is finalized by the Kittitas County Board of Commissioners.
We will keep this page updated as new information becomes available.

If you have any questions, please contact KITTCOM Interim Director Rich Elliott at [email protected].


Local News Coverage

KITTCOM hopeful to address woes with new equipment – Nonstop Local (NBC Right Now) – November 21, 2023

Outdated 911 system hampers emergency response in Kittitas County – KIMA – November 17, 2023

KITTCOM 911 services struggles to keep the public safe with outdated equipment – Nonstop Local (NBC Right Now) – November 15, 2023

Kittitas County 911 struggles to efficiently respond to emergencies with outdated systems – Nonstop Local (NBC Right Now) – November 14, 2023

Kittitas County 911 struggles to efficiently respond to emergencies with outdated systems – Fox 11/41 Yakima – November 14, 2023

Media Releases

Kittitas County 911 system facing challenges to public safety – November 14, 2023

More Information

Here are examples of situations where we experienced difficulties with our radio communications and/or our radios failed: