Technology Increases Effectiveness of 911 Dispatch

Emergency 911 dispatch technology has come a long way in the past 20 years, and Portage County Communications Manager Denise Schultz has watched things go from paper maps and a single computer to a modern day control center.

"Technology has exploded and the profession of a dispatcher, who are the real first responders on every emergency call, has become so technical. " Schultz says.

New technology allows dispatchers to track calls using an advanced mapping system and then page police or fire with the click of a mouse. However, the innovation does not stop there. In the future people may be able to text message 911 calls into the system.

While the technology exists within the call center to handle these calls, local phone providers have not yet caught up with the technology. That is the reason why only about 1% of counties nationwide have 911 text systems in place.

"There are certain states that are doing some experimental, but the infrastructure is so detailed and so expensive that it is going to take years before that is fully operational. " Schultz says.

As of now, 911 text messaging is not available in any part of Central or Northcentral Wisconsin.

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