The City Council agreed Friday to commission a detailed study of a 311 telephone number to handle nonemergency calls to free the clogged 911 system for genuine emergencies.
"Our residents have a right to expect they can get through immediately when they have an emergency," said Councilman Mike Feuer, vice chairman of the Public Safety Committee. According to a report by city analysts, an estimated 80% of 911 calls in Los Angeles are not for life-threatening emergencies.
The Federal Communications Commission has set aside the 311 number for local governments to use for nonemergency access to police and other services. Some cities, such as Chicago, are using the 311 system to answer all calls for city information, including service orders and complaints.
The creation of a 311 number should be accompanied by an Internet system giving residents access to city information and services, according to the report adopted by the council.
Councilwoman Laura Chick, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, suggested the city also examine its 800-system numbers as part of a broader effort to make government "more accessible and responsive to the public."