Calling 911

Funding and technology challenges of county 911 call centers.

By Andrew Hartsig
NACo Research Manager

The efficacy of an emergency response system is a matter of life and death. The quickest way to receive assistance from public safety officials is by dialing 911. According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), federal, state and local governments manage, fund and operate 7,050 public-safety answering points (PSAPs) throughout the country.1 These answering points function as the vital links between 911 callers and public-safety personnel to dispatchers. However, changes in the telecommunications industry require PSAPs to implement costly upgrades in order to quickly locate and respond to callers. Concurrently, PSAP operators such as counties are receiving less in dedicated 911 funding, due to shifts in telecommunications preferences and states withholding fees that would otherwise be remitted to counties. Residents and counties are left in a position that may delay the delivery of life-saving assistance. Read more.

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