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Provo Upgrades 9-1-1 Dispatch Center

Provo Upgrades 9-1-1 Dispatch Center

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Sam Penrod Reporting There's been an upgrade to Provo's 9-1-1 emergency dispatch center. Emergency calls made from cell phones will now be able to be traced in situations where callers can't give their location.

There have been instances where people have called 9-1-1 from a cell phone and couldn't give their address or didn't know where they were. That left dispatchers scrambling to find out where the call was coming from, but now the dispatch center is better equipped to handle cell phone calls.

Lt. Jeff Lougee, Provo Police Dept.: "We're able to lock in on that latitude-longitude, so we know exactly where that person is calling from. So it's been wonderful for our system, and hopefully we'll be able to find you when you call."

But dispatchers emphasize that using the new GPS technology in the dispatch center is only meant as a backup system. They say people calling 9-1-1 still need to provide as much information as they can and stay on the line for as long as the dispatcher needs you to.

Another issue that is becoming a problem for dispatchers is old cell phones. Even though the service contract on the phone is over and someone has transferred the number, these old phones will still call 9-1-1, and dispatchers are getting several non-emergency calls every week they can't trace.

Lt. Jeff Lougee, Provo Police Dept.: "That cell phone will still call 9-1-1. As a child is playing on that phone, the phone call will come into our dispatch center, and without any additional information such as a phone number, we still have to attempt to locate that cell phone."

Now the Provo dispatch center is unique from other cities, because with so many students living in the area, about half of all 9-1-1 calls now are made from a cell phone.

Most cell phone companies have installed the new equipment as well, meaning for almost all cell customers, the system is in place.

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