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NEWS IN BRIEF: A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / San Gabriel
Valley

Pilot Program to Show Location of 911 Calls From Cell Phones

September 16, 1998

Operators taking 911 calls from cellular phone users in the San Gabriel Valley will for the first time be able to identify the caller's location in a six-month pilot program being conducted by the California Highway Patrol, said Wendell McCullough, deputy director of the state Department of General Services.

If successful, the technology could be a model for the rest of the state.

"Without these enhancements, persons placing 911 calls from cell phones have to tell dispatchers their location, which often times they don't know," said CHP Chief Ed Gomez said.

Cellular 911 emergency calls are answered by CHP dispatchers who are often overburdened with help requests. In the past six years, 911 calls have tripled, in large part because of the burgeoning use of cellular telephones.

Up to 140 emergency cell phone calls out of 2,000 made daily in Los Angeles County don't get through because there are not enough operators, officials said.

By comparison, land-line companies are required by the state Public Utilities Commission to connect at least 99 out of 100 calls, including those to 911.

The Federal Communications Commission has given the cellular phone industry three years to come up with a system that will accurately locate a 911 cell phone call to within 125 yards.

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