March 31, 2011 – When people needing emergency assistance at the University of Utah dial 9-1-1 for help, campus police dispatchers will now have access to a wealth of information about the caller, something that was not available to them until this week. The improvements are the result of the University Department of Public Safety’s just completed upgrade of its computer software to allow for enhanced 911 (e911) service.
Implementing the e911 system means that when a person calls for help, their exact location will now be visible to dispatchers, right down to the office, hallway or plaza for any building on campus.
The upgrade has already been made at many city and county dispatch locations, but it is especially important on the university campus because street intersections are sometimes non-existent and building addresses are often difficult for people in distress to articulate.
“This change will allow our officers to respond to calls for help much more quickly,” says University Police Chief Scott Folsom. “Now we will know almost instantly exactly where to send the responding officer, fire crew or ambulance. The system means that first responders won’t have to ask the distressed person as many questions about location, but can now immediately begin formulating plans to resolve the problem.”
The new e911 system came at a cost of approximately $200,000, of which $140,000 came in the form of a state grant. Prior to the upgrade to e911, emergency calls went to a central dispatch location in Salt Lake City and the caller was then transferred to campus dispatchers.
911 calls will now be automatically routed straight to a dispatcher’s computer screen, which is installed with the new software. The caller’s telephone number and address will be displayed through what is known as Automatic Number Identification (ANI) and the caller’s location is identified through what is known as Automatic Location Identification (ALI).
The University Department of Public Safety is an independent organization that provides all police-related services on campus, which spans over 1,800 acres. Officers patrol the campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help safeguard the university community of close to 50,000 people. Police officers on campus are backed up by a security staff of over 60 people to help assure the physical safety of all university buildings and occupants.
For more information, please visit: www.dps.utah.edu.