About 372 9-1-1 signs necessary for rescue workers responding to emergency calls have been stolen and replaced since the fall of 2000 in Fulton County, according to Fulton County's 9-1-1 coordinator, David Keck.
To replace the signs in the year 2001, Fulton County spent about $22,000. Keck said he had to request extra funds from the quorum court to replace the signs because there was not enough money in the budget to cover all the costs.
Keck said he was replacing and putting the signs up on his own time but was authorized by County Judge Curren Everett to hire a contractor to post the signs.
Keck said that out of the 372 signs stolen, very few have been recovered. He said they have found some damaged signs thrown in vacant lots and creeks.
The original signs were made of fiberglass but the county has since switched to metal signs. "It's been a major hurdle to keep signs," Keck said.
He said these signs are necessary for law enforcement officers and rescue workers to do their job efficiently. He explained rescue workers need to be able to locate where an emergency is.
Keck said Ordinance No. 2001-9 was enacted by the quorum court in an effort to discourage the theft of street signs.The ordinance prohibits the theft of street signs and prohibits destruction or damage to any street sign.
The penalties can include a one-year sentence of imprisonment or a fine not to exceed $1,000 or both.
He said, "It has gotten better since some people were caught and convicted."