New 911 System To Target Wireless Calls

Friday, October 5th 2007, 5:25 pm
By: News On 6

A new 911 system is in the works for Tulsa to help deal with the rising number of callers using wireless phones. Many times, those callers don't know their exact location, but new technology in some phones can send that information automatically. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports the phones had advanced beyond the technology in the current 911 center, so all their equipment is being replaced. The money to pay for it comes from everyone who has a cell phone, because there's a 50 cents a month tax for 911 service.

Leaders of 10 cities around Tulsa have signed a contract to spend $9.5 million on a new 911 system. The plan will allow Tulsa 911 dispatchers, for the first time, to accurately locate callers using wireless phones.

"And that means we see a dot on the map when we get a cell phone caller," said Darita DeLoach Huckabee with the Indian Nations Council of Governments.

On the current system, emergency dispatchers only get the phone number and a vague location of wireless callers. News On 6 reporter Emory Bryan reports that information may be several miles off.

Since more than half of all the calls for emergency help come from cell phones, that's a big problem.

The new system cannot pinpoint a location, but can narrow it down enough that emergency help can find people who don't know or can't say where they are.

"We do have a lot of people who call 911 and don't know their location and with the new technology we'll be able to locate within a hundred yards of where they're located,” says John Hampton, 911 Division Manager.

The new system will serve towns which currently use Tulsa's 911 center to dispatch help. That would include all of Tulsa and Rogers County, and the eastern half of Creek County.

Tulsa is building a new 911 center and that is where the technology will be first rolled out. From there, there will be a city-by-city addition until everyone is patched into the new center.

Dispatchers will move into that center early next year. At that location, their equipment will be in a larger and more secure setting.

The system won't be up and running until January.

Click here for a breakdown of the how each city is sharing the cost of the E911 system.

Watch the video: 911 System Upgrade Planned