NOV 30, 2021
As the law enforcement field constantly evolves, 9-1-1 systems must be upgraded to Next Generation 9-1-1 (Next Gen 9-1-1), as most call centers currently rely on outdated, analog systems that negatively affect first responders’ ability to effectively do their jobs due to the lack of meaningful information they provide. It will also hurt the public due to extended call times that could make the difference between life or death if public safety technology is not updated. With the implementation of Next Gen 9-1-1, these issues can be avoided, making communities smarter, safer, and more efficient.
Next Gen 9-1-1 combines voice and data in one platform, incorporating computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and GPS to every call to quickly get vital caller information and accurate location to the right first responders so they can do their job more efficiently. Next-Gen 9-1-1 can also automate 9-1-1 hang ups, freeing up operators from needing to contact individuals who may have called 9-1-1 on accident. In fact, call centers that currently utilize this software are saving 20 minutes on misdialed calls. The technology can also receive videos, texts, and images from citizens to enhance the communication between the public and first responders, cutting down on call times and increasing caller accuracy with the combination of CAD and GPS location information shared in every call.
In addition to GPS technology and text communications, one of the most vital aspects of Next Gen 9-1-1 software is the CAD function, optimizing communication between the caller and respondent. CAD-to-CAD services ensure that the correct first responders are deployed to any emergency or response situation, connecting public safety agencies across jurisdictions in times of crisis, streamlining responses and improving outcomes.
State and local government officials work every day to keep their constituents safe. However, the lack of funding necessary to upgrade to Next Gen 9-1-1 holds state and local governments back from protecting their citizens and giving responders the tools, they need in times of crisis.
On Capitol Hill, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), co-chair of the Senate Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) are spearheading a bill that would allow 9-1-1 centers across the nation to upgrade their systems. The Next Generation 9-1-1 Act (S. 2754) would provide 10 billion dollars in federal grant funding for state and local governments. If passed by the Senate, the government would distribute this grant funding across states. Rather than funneling funding directly to call centers, the states will have the jurisdiction to allocate IT infrastructure or training at the call centers.
For the states already utilizing modern 9-1-1 services, the funding can be used to enhance their network further with things like cloud services.
As public safety technologies advance, Next Gen 9-1-1 will equip first responders with the technology needed to serve their community in the most effective ways possible. Congress should quickly act to provide states with the necessary funding to create a more robust communication system between constituents, 9-1-1 dispatchers, and first responders. Across the nation, we can build smarter and safer communities with the implementation of Next Gen 9-1-1, cutting down on response times can save lives in times of crisis.