Wednesday Aug 27 2008
Cell phone 9-1-1- calls are now going to Sheriff's Department
By: Jenna Nielsen, Gold Country News Service
Emergency dialers were previously directed to CHP
Emergency 9-1-1 calls made from cell phones will now be directly diverted to the Placer County Sheriff’s Department. Cell phone users who previously dialed 9-1-1 were connected to California Highway Patrol dis-patchers statewide and were often put on hold for long periods of time as their calls were routed to the correct local law enforcement agency, sheriff’s officials said. “I believe this change will be a significant improvement in our ability to serve the public,” Sheriff Ed Bonner said in a statement about the switchover. “A cellular call will now be routed immediately to the appropriate public safety dispatch center saving precious minutes.” Sheriff’s dispatchers began receiving 9-1-1 cellular calls this week. But officials warn that the technology is still emerging and that there may be glitches until the system is refined. If a caller dials 9-1-1 from a state highway or freeway, the call will still go the California Highway Patrol, which includes those who make calls from Highway 49 and Interstate 80. Each cell phone carrier is being phased in separately and all companies should have the service within the next few months. By sheriff’s dispatchers taking the calls directly, valuable time will be saved, time that can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations, officials said. Sheriff’s officials remind cell phone users that when dialing 9-1-1 from a cell phone, calls should be for immediate assistance — police, fire or medical services only. Callers should be prepared to provide their location and any essential information the dispatcher may need. Callers should stay on the line until they are told to hang up since they may need to be transferred to another agency.