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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review
/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Nonemergency 311 Phone System to Be Installed by 2007

May 13, 2000

LOS ANGELES — The City Council on Friday agreed to spend $40 million over the next seven years to implement a 311 phone system aimed at handling nonemergency calls and easing the burden on 911 emergency phone lines.

Voting unanimously, council members agreed to move forward on the system, which will handle 20,000 calls a day once it is fully operational in 2007.

Los Angeles police and city officials have said repeatedly that residents need an easy-to-remember phone number to use for less urgent problems. They say that about 80% of the calls to 911 are for problems that aren't emergencies. Such calls clog the 911 lines and delay service for people with life-threatening problems.

The 311 telephone number was set aside by the federal government to be used by municipalities around the country to handle nonemergency calls. The first phase of the project--which will cost about $18 million--will take two years to complete.

If things go as planned, Los Angeles residents will be able to reach a 311 operator 24 hours a day for basic city information and referrals. The system will be modeled after those already in place in Baltimore, Dallas and San Jose, officials said.

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