The city of Bradenton (Fla.) and the Manatee County Emergency Communications Center are debating how cellular 911 calls should be handled. They all come to the county now, but city officials claim that delays their receiving emergencies by 2 to 4 minutes. County officials say their regulations require wireless 911 to be routed to the county, and that transfer are prompt. Read more of the back-and-forth here.
Seminole County (Fla.) dispatcher Shelley Brubaker was faced with a dire prospect–the only person who could save 87 year-old Bert Webb was Bert himself. The man was choking on a piece of chicken at home alone. He managed to dial 911 and was barely able to describe what was happening. Brubaker instructed him to use a chair to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on himself–and it worked. Check the story here.
The Alabama state legislative committee killed a bill that would have established a state-level office to coordinate radio communications among law enforcement agencies. The bill was opposed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco, saying communications issues raised by last year’s Gulf Coast hurricanes is already being addressd by another panel the governor named last year. Read the story here.
The non-profit Institute of Medicine has published a wake-up report on the nation’s emergency rooms, saying they are jammed with patients so frequently that ambulances arriving with emergency patients are turned away every minute of every day. The entire report is available for a fee, but you can read summaries here.
Several Metro PCS cellular customers in the San Francisco Bay area say they’ve received incoming telephone calls that display the caller ID “911,” with the caller telling the person he/she has a warrant for their arrest or that there is an emergency at their residence and need to go home. In one case the caller asked for the person’s home address, and yet another case the female caller said she was a police officer who had been shot. The CHP says most of the called persons have names that could be interpreted as female, and are being received in a fairly small region northwest of San Francisco. It’s possible the calls are being made from a VoIP telephone, with the caller ID being ‘spoofed’ to display “911.”
In a rare public response to a local agency’s handling of an incident, APCO issued a press release that said the association, “stressed the importance of telecommunicator training following the charging of two Detroit dispatchers allegedly involved in the death of a boy’s mother after assuming the two calls from the boy were prank calls.” The statement pointed to the group’s training that addresses, “ways to handle emergency calls from all callers, including children and chronic callers. The training material stresses that all calls should be handled on their own merit and that calls should never be disregarded based on presumptions of the severity of the call.” Read the full statement here.
Convergence Communications is promoting their new E-SPONDER software that handles the coordination and dispatching of the varied units assigned to major events, including something as large as Super Bowl XXXIX. Surf here, read the details and watch the video.
Apparently interoperability is an issue across the border in Canada: an on-line story in IT-Online Canada says there are 270 law enforcement agencies across the nation, and even more fire and EMS agencies, nearly all with their own radio system. The Canadian Police Research Centre (CPRC) is trying to bridge radio manufacturers and public safety agencies to come up with interoperability solutions. Read the article here.
Polk County (Fla.) and Verizon are butting heads over control of the telephone company’s E911 database–the county now pays Verizon $730,000 to input and maintaint the MSAG, and expense the county wants to cut to about $230,000 by taking over the duties. But Verizon declines to give the county the database information, which they claim has many errors. A consultant has told the county they could maintain the database to a higher level of accuracy if they do the work themselves. Read the story here.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced they have narrowed the list of bid candidates to two for the Integrated Wireless Network that will eventually serve a wide range of federal law enforcement agencies. The DOJ said General Dynamics C4 Systems and Lockehed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions will compete for the final contract. The wireless project includes nationwide voice, data and multimedia for the I, DEA, BATF, U.S. Marshals Service, the IRS, ICE, TSA, U.S. Secret Service, Coast Guard, FEMA and FPS. Read the press release here.
Illinois State Police dispatcher Jennifer Anderson is named in a lawsuit filed by a couple who were pulled over by a trooper in June 2005, and who claim they were forced to strip down to their underwear as an alternative to being arrested for DUI. The lawsuit states that the male driver dialed 911 and reported the incident to Anderson, but that she failed to take any action, and in fact helped the officer find the couple after they fled. Trooper Jeremy Dozier was suspended after the incident and sentenced to 6 months in jail on bribery and felony misconduct charges. The ISP said it intends to fire him. Read the full story here.
Two Detroit (Mich.) dispatchers have been criminally charged in connection with the death of a 46 year-old woman, and the 911 call that her 5 year-old boy made to report her illness. Sharon Nichols, 43, and Terri Sutton, 47, were charged with neglect of duty, a misdemeanor that could result in a one-year jail sentence. “I understand they get a quite a few crank calls, but you have to take it seriously when someone calls 911,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told reporters. The family of the woman has filed a civil lawsuit against the city. The police department suspended Nichols for 5 days without pay over the incident, and Sutton three days. Both continue to work, although they have been transferred to the records bureau. Read the latest news story here.
Radio company M/A-COM, Inc. has announced they’ve made a long-term loan of their NetworkFirst technology to the city of New Orleans (La.) that will allow them to communicate with public safety agencies in Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Plaquemines parishes, and state and federal agencies. The company has been a city radio supplier for 11 years, and is providing the equipment in anticipation of the hurricane season. Find more information about NetworkFirst here.
Yes, there really is small town news out there, as the local police blotter from Ponoka (Alb.) demonstrates. A squirrel in a paper bag, loose bison, and inappropriate 911 calls. It’s all chronicled in this newspaper column.
Winnipeg (Ont.) Fire Paramedic officials are investigating the death of a woman who dialed 911, but hung up before saying what type of emergency she had. The calltaker reached an answering machine on call-back, but believed the woman was reporting a choking problem. She notified a fire dispatcher, who told her to send the police, and to then call back for an EMS response if it actually was a medical problem. It was. The woman was found by police about 30 minutes later and she did not survive. Read the full story here.