The Menlo Park Police Department was getting ready Tuesday to upgrade its 9-1-1 dispatch center with new technology that accepts texts messages.
The next generation 9-1-1 system allows anyone to text information about crimes or emergencies to emergency dispatchers.
“They are going to be doing the same questioning they would be doing if you were on 9-1-1 verbally, via text,” Menlo Park Commander Dave Bertini.
The new system will also allow people to send videos and photos to the dispatch center.
“That's going to be great information for us to give to officers as they go after that call,” said Bertini.
But Bertini warned Tuesday that there were challenges in the transmission of the additional information and concerns that it could overload the system.
“That's going to be one of the major issues: the bandwidth,” said Bertini.
As of Tuesday, the new system was being tested in two different areas of the state to see how much it can handle.
Officials were expected to release standards for the next generation 9-1-1 systems next year.
Menlo Park officials were looking forward to rolling out the technology that it hopes will enable officers to respond faster and save lives.
“The more information we can get into the 9-1-1 center to that call taker, to that dispatcher, the better our response can be” Bertini said.
The new system cost $360,000 and was paid for through phone taxes.
KTVU reporter Heather Holmes later asked Bertini about concerns the text messages might end up going to the wrong agency, which sometimes happens with cell phone calls. He said that as of Tuesday, the concern was being worked on and would be addressed before texting to the dispatch center was allowed.
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