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911 services back online after police agencies nationwide and in Utah report outage

By Lauren Bennett, KSL.com | Updated - Sep. 28, 2020 at 8:54 p.m. | Posted - Sep. 28, 2020 at 6:58 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Service has returned after multiple 911 outages were reported Monday evening across the country — including by some dispatch centers in Utah.

Just before 6 p.m., Layton Police Department reported 911 calls were not coming in and advised residents to instead call a nonemergency line if they needed emergency help. However, by 6:30 p.m. calls were coming through to dispatchers “as normal,” police wrote on Twitter.

At least two other agencies in Utah were impacted by the outage and experienced issues receiving 911 calls.

Landlines were hit particularly hard in Layton’s dispatch outage, according to Layton City Police Lt. Travis Lyman. Some cell phones were impacted as well.

Some callers were redirected to the dispatch center’s nonemergency line and others didn’t get rerouted at all but instead simply heard an automated message telling them the number they had called wasn’t available.

Those callers were never connected to dispatchers through a 911 call during the outage, he said.

The situation created chaos for dispatchers who now had to treat every call into the nonemergency line as an emergency, Lyman said.

“Now all of those calls have to be treated like a 911 call,” he said. “For our communications center, they are taking the brunt of the stress involved in a situation like that,” he said.

The outage appeared to only last about a half an hour for their center, Lyman said.

“If (an outage) goes on very long that can really overwhelm a communications center,” he said.

Emergency 911 calls for Valley Emergency Communications Center, which provides dispatch services for several cities in Salt Lake County, did go down for a short time Monday, dispatchers confirmed to KSL.com.

Some calls were redirected to the center’s nonemergency line, but further information about how the outage impacted VECC wasn’t immediately available.

Salt Lake City dispatch reported some issues with 911 calls Monday night as well, saying at least one citizen told dispatchers they had tried to call 911 and it didn’t work.

So far, KSL.com has confirmed that Utah Valley Dispatch, Cedar Communications, Uintah Basin Communications and Price Communications didn’t experience issues receiving 911 calls Monday night.

On Twitter, floods of messages from police agencies across the country came in reporting the same issue.

Police agencies from Minnesota to Colorado and several others nationwide all reported issues with 911 calls as well.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the issue or if it was related to a Microsoft outage also reported Monday.

Lauren Bennett

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