Dallas Mayor Wants 911 System Upgraded

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DALLAS (CBS11) – Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings Friday called for upgrading the city’s 911 service.

Many 911 experts are warning 911 systems are already behind phone technology and there needs to be a national update to the lifesaving system.

“We are in the midst of communication revolution and with all the different innovations and you capacities it’s just basically out-running 911,” said Bill Munn of NGA 911, Inc.

Munn ran Tarrant County’s 911 district for 20 years.

Munn is now part of a community of businesses pushing to upgrade the nation’s 911 system which they say is crumbling under old technology.

What most people don’t realize is that when the 911 system was first put in, most people had land lines.

“So almost all the 911 networks were on copper wire,” Munn explained. “It worked well for the phone companies. It’s in the ground. It’s paid for.”

But people now say with our new phones and new technology we ought to be able to text message 911 or even send video of the scene to dispatchers or first responders.

“There should be all kinds of data available to the responders,” Mumn said. “But we have to make that leap into the next gen.”

That leap would involve moving 911 calls off of old, copper phone lines into an Internet based system.

“Its just that the dispatcher has much more data and many more tools at their disposal,” Munn said.

Some next generation technology has been available in various forms since the turn of the century, but Munn said only about 15 percent of the nation’s 911 service has upgraded.

“I think the whole 911 community, it will require a commitment,” he said.

Dispatch managers we spoke with say there is a lot of talk among 911 systems about how efficient 911 texting would be and how to best upgrade current systems.

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