By Rita Cook / The Ellis County Press
HUTCHINS – The City of Hutchins upgraded its police dispatcher system last month allowing for mobile 911 calls to be traceable now just like calls made from land lines.
Hutchins Police Chief Steve Perry said the additional 911 feature has been in the works for about a year and was finally installed on April 4.
“It will help make the residents safer by ensuring that we get a good location if the call happens to drop,” Perry said. “It will ensure that we are able to communicate with every caller that calls in with an emergency no matter what.”
The additional 911 system is called Phase two enhanced 911 (E911) and the goal is to improve the effectiveness and reliability of wireless 911 services by providing 911 dispatchers with additional information on wireless 911 calls.
“Phase two 911 requires carriers, to provide the Public Safety Answering Point, with the telephone number of the originator of a wireless 911 call and information more precise to PSAPs, specifically, the latitude and longitude of the caller,” Perry added. “Additional information is obtained by retransmitting a caller’s location to get an updated or approximated location.”
Phase one, is the initial way all 911 calls come into the call center, after the connection to a call taker, Phase two is initiated to provide a better location.
This information must meet FCC accuracy standards, generally to within 50 to 300 meters of the call, depending on the type of technology used.
To put it simply, the difference between calling from a land line and calling from a wireless phone when dialing 911 means a landline will provide the dispatcher with an accurate location of where the call is coming from. Calling from a wireless device will give the call taker a cell tower location at first but will then update to a 500-meter range of where the call may be coming from.
Perry said no matter if one is calling from a land line or wireless device, always be prepared to provide an address and try to remain calm so the dispatcher can send the help required in a timely manner.
On average, the Hutchins Police Department receives about 8,500 emergency calls annually.
It was decided the Hutchins PD needed this 911 improvement due to the age of the old system and the fact the hardware and software was no longer supported by the city’s vendor AT&T.
The Hutchins Police Department now meets the appropriate Phase Two compliance standards, with increased accountability on incoming phase two 911 calls and Perry concludes, “It increases our reporting capability, and ability to quickly and accurately get specific information also relating to land line calls and more importantly wireless calls.”
The Hutchins Police Department was also currently updating its mapping to improve locating cellular 911 calls and updating locations not existing on the city’s current mapping log.