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BEND, OR -- Deschutes County 911 Director Steve Reinke announced Friday he will retire in the next month, amid ongoing problems with the transition to a digital radio system, which he oversaw. Although, County Administrator Tom Anderson insists Reinke’s retirement is unrelated, "This is something that Steve has been considering for a while; it’s a personal decision on Steve’s part. Steve has worked very hard to get the radio system on track for correction, in working both with the contractor as well as our contract engineer to design a plan for getting it where it needs to be. But, his retirement is completely separate from that." He adds, "This is a personal decision that Steve has made with certainly no encouragement, in any way, from County Administration."

 

In a statement issued by the county, Reinke said, "It was a difficult decision to make, but we want to be closer to our daughter, who lives in Washington, and I'm planning to pursue other personal and professional opportunities."

 

Reinke took over the agency in September 2014. Shortly after he was hired, he told KNBD News he planned to stay on six or seven years. He oversaw successful passage of the 2016 operating levy that funded the radio system overhaul. In recent months, law enforcement officers have reported garbled transmissions and dropped calls. Anderson says, "We think we’re on a path to get those issues fixed, but we don’t have an identified date. We hope sooner rather than later." He admits those problems may not be resolved before Reinke’s departure, "Steve’s presence, while certainly important to the overall operation of 911, is not necessarily dependent on the fixes to the radio system."
 
The agency's Deputy Director will transition into the top job, over the next month, "Sarah Crosswhite has been in 911 for a very long time, and worked her way up from the floor. So, Sarah has been appointed as Interim Director to serve during this transition period," says Anderson. Crosswhite started with Deschutes County 911 as a dispatcher, rising through the ranks over the last 20 years. 

 

Stock Image: Deschutes County 911

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