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Accessing smartphones allows Connecticut police departments to improve 911 calls

Photo of a New London Police 911 Dispatcher at work using the Prepared911LIVE software.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
Photo of a New London Police 911 Dispatcher at work using the Prepared911LIVE software.

Emergency dispatch centers in Connecticut are using game changing technology to help with 9-1-1 emergency calls.

Fourteen centers across the state are using a new system called “Prepared911 LIVE,” which allows them to harness the power of smartphones.

The Prepared911LIVE software dashboard.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
The Prepared911LIVE software dashboard.

Michael Chime, the company’s CEO and co-founder, said emergency centers were set up to deal with calls from landlines, but over 80% of emergency calls today come from mobile phones, which have capabilities their software can use.

“This is almost a radio to TV type shift,” Chime said, “where now you have all this rich data in the form of visuals that a 911 telecommunicator can see in real time.”

“So, suppose to them trying to sift through what’s happening in that emergency, basically by a game of telephone, audio is the only input,” he continued. “We now let them use the caller’s camera to see what’s happening, they can also text pictures, text pre-recorded video and we can pull their audio.”

Callers to an emergency center using the new system must give permission for a video call to be started. And any video or data sent during the call is recorded and can be used by law enforcement in the event of a criminal or legal case.

New London Police Sergeant Matt Cassiere said his department has just started using the new system in their dispatch center. He said the technology can help them deal with many different emergency situations in new ways, especially when it comes to domestic violence calls.

“This allows us to either use text messaging or video, for us to see what’s going on,” he said. “That way, while we’re responding to the location, we have a better idea of what's going on. We can also have that eye that we’ve never had prior to us arriving there.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.