REGISTER VIEWPOINT: 911 unplugged taking too long to connect

Hello? Hello? Maybe this time we'll connect. Erie County's cellular 911 system, which has been a coupl
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

Hello? Hello?

Maybe this time we'll connect.

Erie County's cellular 911 system, which has been a couple months away for years, got one more jolt from the defibrillator last week when Gov. Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 129, renewing funding for such service from a 28-cent-a-month (formerly 32 cents) fee on all cell phone bills. The fee was renewed just as it was about to expire, and expires again in four years unless renewed.

Bill Walker, Erie County's emergency management director, said he's relieved the fee was renewed and Erie County's cellular 911 service will be up and running soon.

What we don't get is that Walker says the county has the equipment, but "we're at the mercy of the telephone companies in getting it installed."

Well, if that's the case, then would the phone companies or whoever is in a position to answer the question please answer:

What.

Is.

The.

PROBLEM?

Walker says cellular 911 will get a dial tone in Erie County the first part of this year, and that's great. But we've been hearing that for years.

Surrounding counties have the service, which enables a 911 operator or dispatcher to pinpoint the location from which a cell phone call is made. Erie County does not have the service, so if you're calling 911 from a cell phone, you'd better be able to tell the dispatcher where you are -- or just find a regular phone that's growing out of the wall.

Apparently the phone companies have more mercy on our neighbor counties than they do for Erie County.

It'd be nice if life really was like "Law&Order" and cell phone calls could be triangulated from the various cell towers in minutes, but it isn't.

So all we can do is hope Walker's right this time and we'll have cellular 911 early this year.

Because, really, how many more years can it be "just a few more months"? Come on, Erie County, let's get this done.