State of Emergency Over 911 Call Centers
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Several Missouri counties are still in the 20th century when it comes to 911 emergency call centers and unless a new funding source is found soon, many more could be going back in time with them.
In 13 counties, emergency dispatchers still can’t trace the location of calls made on land lines, much less cell phones – and the Missouri 911 Directors Association says even that basic technological necessity could be dropped soon in other communities.
Association President Lisa Schlottach says that’s because most centers are funded by fees added to land line phone bills. With more people dropping land lines in favor of wireless, the funding for dispatch centers is also dropping. “We absolutely have to get off of this decreasing revenue source,” Schlottach says. “There’s going to have to be some sort of funding for this, some kind of state oversight to ensure quality of service.”
Some counties have approved sales taxes to fund the centers, but Schlottach says state lawmakers have shown no interest in finding a new statewide funding source — Missouri is the only state in the nation that hasn’t yet passed wireless funding legislation for 911 service. A socalled e-911 bill was proposed last year, but was defeated.