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Local News

Next-generation 911 implementation for DeKalb County moving along

Glenna Johnson, Enhanced 911 system coordinator for DeKalb County, talks during an E-911 board meeting Aug. 1.
Glenna Johnson, Enhanced 911 system coordinator for DeKalb County, talks during an E-911 board meeting Aug. 1.

DeKALB – Plans to upgrade DeKalb County’s enhanced 911 system are still moving forward slowly as the county awaits state approval.

Despite a line item “GIS Services” appearing on the county E-911 board’s Feb. 13 meeting agenda, E-911 coordinator Glenna Johnson said that was only to talk about software options for the county to meet the map data requirement for the incoming Next Generation 911 system.

Johnson said the consideration will not delay the implementation process.

“It’s just being considered right now,” Johnson said. “It’s not being purchased for sure at this time.”

The clarification comes after the state initially rejected the plan in August.

Next Generation 911 systems use digital or internet-based technology to create a faster system that allows callers to communicate with voice calls or by sending photos, videos or text messages.

But because most 911 systems were built using analog technology, making this changeover requires work and coordination, according to 911.gov.

Johnson has said the next step after enabling text messaging for the county’s 911 system would be to add the ability for residents to send photos and live video streams to 911 operators. But, she has said, the county still has a long way to go before getting to that point.

Johnson has said the county would be the first of 11 northern Illinois counties to make the upgrade to the E-911 system.

The rest of the counties will follow suit to meet the state deadline.

Johnson has said state law requires all emergency response agency 911 systems to be next-generation 911 ready by June 2020. She said there is still work being done by vendors that are getting state approval and there is no date set for implementation in DeKalb County.

“On our part, there is no change at all” since December, Johnson said.

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