Pennsylvania’s 911 System Needs Upgrades, New Technology

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s various 9-1-1 systems are in need of renewal and there’s a lot more to it than just finding the money for upgrades.

Funding is just a small piece of the puzzle to be solved by a state House panel in advance of the expiration of the 9-1-1 authorization law next year. It has been based on a surcharge on landline phones, which are declining. Delaware County Council Vice Chairman Mario Civera, prime sponsor of the existing bill while a state legislator, says dispatchers need to keep up with changing technology.

“And that was the reason we visited the bill to begin with in ’98 was to bring those dispatchers up to a point where they understood what they were doing and the counties had the funds to train them,” Civera said.

Other issues include outbound communication: do you want your dispatchers sending written information to officers involved in an emergency response when their eyes should be focused on the road?

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