Action Line: JPD Public Safety Manager discusses 911 in Juneau

JPD's Erann Kalwara discusses benefits of potential upgrade to Smart 911 system.

Juneau's 911 system was a topic of discussion on Action Line today.

The police department's Public Services Manager Erann Kalwara JPD's Erannwas the guest.

Some citizens are advocating the implementation of a Smart 911 system.

"What the system does is it allows folks to log into a secure website and document information about such as if anyone in the household has special needs or medical conditions, or if they have directions for responders. That's information is accessible to 911 operators as they're processing calls. It's something that's nationwide, but, if you travel, the agency or area that you're going to has to have the system as well for it to be effective. It's a pretty significant chunk of money; it's $30,000 to implement, and then $25,000 a year for maintenance. It's something that we're looking at, but we haven't secured the funding or made any decisions yet. We're waiting to let this new 911 system soak for a little bit before we add any bells and whistles to it."

The new system was turned on in mid-May. We asked about the changes that brings.

"One of the things is that it's Voice Over IP, so it's computer technology. What it will allow us to do in the future is receive text messages to 911. We haven't started doing that yet, but it will allow people - whether you're hearing or speech impaired or you're somewhere you can't talk because you're in danger - to send 911 a text that says, "Help me, this is where I am, and this is my situation.""

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