Want to read more? Subscribe Now or Sign In
Hide ( X )
  • THE CRIME REPORT - Your Complete Criminal Justice Resource

  • Investigative News Network
  • Welcome to the Crime Report. Today is

Share this Post

911 Technology Lags; Upgrading Will Cost Billions

April 24, 2011 09:03:00 am

The growth of technology has left 911 behind, says the Washington Post. People can send a text to vote for the next American Idol, but they can’t send one to report the East Coast Rapist. Modernizing 911 has taken on renewed urgency as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaches, but actual progress is slow and could be years away in many places.

Federal and local officials acknowledge the need to modernize 911 calls, and they have taken small steps to digitize, but there are no plans in place for how to pay the billions of dollars the upgrade will cost and no timetable has been set. “The thinking is, ‘I can text almost everyone — why can’t I text 911?’ ” said Jeffrey Horwitz of the Arlington County, Va., emergency communications center, which has completed a $38 million upgrade in anticipation of moving to a digital 911 network. “We need to evolve as the technology evolves.” Consumer expectation has already outpaced 911 capabilities. When Verizon Wireless customers send a text message to 911, they get this reply: “Please make a voice call to 911.” Other simple actions, including sending 911 a smartphone photo of a car speeding from a robbery, are also impossible. about 70 percent of the 240 million 911 calls each year come from wireless phones, says the Virginia-based National Emergency Number Association.

TCR at a Glance

Smack Madness

April 16, 2014

Have the media and policymakers overblown the latest heroin “epidemic?”

How Red Tape Snarls Prison Rape Act

special report April 10, 2014

The DOJ’s insistence on state compliance with 288 regulatory standards keeps the program’s implementation in limbo, say critics