City of Lincoln
2007 Media Releases
Mayor Chris Beutler announced today that 911 dispatchers in Lincoln and Lancaster County are now able to determine both the phone number and approximate location of callers using wireless phones.
“More than 60 percent of all 911 calls to the local Emergency Communications Center now come from wireless phones. In 2006, the local center received more than 49,000 wireless 911 calls,” said Mayor Beutler. “Callers are not always able to give dispatchers the necessary details, so the ability to locate the caller can make the difference between life and death. I applaud the 911 Center for its use of new technology to increase the safety for all residents of our community.”
Julie Righter, 911 Communications Manager, said callers need to be aware that they may experience a delay of several seconds at the beginning of a call to 911. This delay is necessary because the phone is sending the location information to the 911 dispatcher. Righter also cautioned that not every wireless phone has the ability to send location information. Cell phone subscribers are encouraged to check with their wireless carriers about the capability of a particular phone.
The City has been able to determine callers’ phone numbers for several years. The 911 Center upgraded from an analog to a digital system in 2004 and installed a digital mapping system, funded by the City’s Capital Improvement Program. The City also received a $77,000 grant from the Public Safety Foundation of America for the project. The most recent improvements give dispatchers the ability to plot the latitude and longitude of wireless callers. The Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) has been developing a statewide plan for deployment of wireless locating with funding for a surcharge assessed by all wireless carriers.
In addition to wireless calls, the Lincoln 911 Center is in the implementation stages of accepting Internet phone calls (VoIP). Righter advised those who are considering a subscription to one of the Internet services to research the service and understand what happens if they need to call 911.
The Lincoln 911 Center is staffed by 35 full-time, public service dispatchers. The Center is one of only 32 in the country accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. For more information, see the city Web site at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: 911).