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DETCOG: Testing complete for enhanced 9-1-1 to locate wireless phone users
Polk County Enterprise - March 2009
JASPER – The Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) has completed the testing and certifi cation of the Phase Two Enhanced 9-1-1 Wireless Services in its 12 county region. Phase two Enhanced 9-1-1 Wireless Services require the wireless carriers provide not only the phone number of the wireless handset being used, but also its location generally to within 150 to 900 feet depending on what type of technology is being used. Some wireless carrier’s handsets have Geo Positioning System chips in them that report the phone’s location precisely and other wireless carriers have to locate their handsets by which towers are picking up the phone’s signal. “9-1-1 Callers will still need to be prepared to give their callback number and location to the dispatcher,” said DETCOG Executive Director, Walter Diggles. “Help can get to you faster if they know something about your specifi c location and not have to search an area for you.” The upgrade of the region’s 9- 1-1 system was necessitated by the shift from land line to wireless phones. Sixty-fi ve to 70 percent of the 9-1-1 calls in the region in 2008 were from cell phones. The region has lost nearly 12,000 land line phones in the past three years. The Texas Legislature specifi cally provided the funding for the upgrades in the state’s 2008-2009 budget. “We upgraded the equipment in the 16 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) in DETCOG’s region this past year. Then it was a matter of working with the public safety agencies, seven wireless carriers, technology vendors, equipment manufacturers, and local wire line carriers as they installed and tested the necessary technology to make it work,” Diggles said.