BEND, OR -- Deschutes County has a new 911 Director, but she's been doing the job for more than a year. Sara Crosswhite began her career as a Deschutes County dispatcher over 20 years ago. She was Deputy Director under Steve Reinke, but took over as Interim Director when he retired in April of 2018.
She says the agency has weathered a lot of controversy, since the digital radio system didn't work as expected, but those problems seem to be behind them now. She's Deschutes County's 18th 911 Director in 25 years. Crosswhite says she hadn't really planned to take on the top job, "I think as we started to resolve some of the issues with the radios, we improved our communication with our users, and I think things just started to get, overall, better here. I wanted to be able to make things better and help our users and help our staff, and seeing that I was able to make a difference, and make some of those positive changes, that was really encouraging for me." She tells KBND News, "I'm going to use all my staff and we're going to work through what our future plans are for the District. I'm excited to see what the future holds for us. I plan on being here a long time, I have no plans to go anywhere; and so I'm excited to take this to the next level, and see what we can do."
According to Crosswhite, the next big project for the 911 Services District is a planned upgrade to the computerized dispatch system, "When we take the 911 calls, that [system] is where everybody puts all the information, and we're going with Tyler Technologies, and we'll be going live with that in March of 2020. So, right now, we're in the preparation phase, they're building the system, and we're going to be starting to train on it; and so that's our biggest project this year."