Callers seeking emergency assistance in Canton, OH will now be routed directly to the city’s dispatch instead of routing through Stark County dispatch first. The extra step was upsetting to callers, who were asked to repeat the nature of their emergency. More importantly, the transfer was adding extra time to calls, and increasing the chance of a dropped call during the hand off.
“I’m glad that Canton city is finally getting their own wireless calls,” 911 coordinator, Julia Patterson, told CantonRep.com. “I understand that it’s only a couple seconds, but those couple seconds matter.”
Making changes to local cell towers “was a time-consuming and complex task,” said Stark County Emergency Management Agency Director, Tim Warstler. “We want that call answered at that [respective] jurisdiction as quick as possible and it’s not as easy as people think.”
Canton enlisted the help of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to make cell tower adjustments that would direct emergency calls intended for Canton responders to the Canton 911 dispatch. Warstler noted that during a spike in incoming calls, Stark County could still receive emergency calls, but going forward, the bulk of the calls will be handled by Canton dispatch.
CantonRep.com reported officials noted the county received approximately 160,000 emergency calls last year, with the majority of them coming in through cell phones. “The key is to get people help the fastest way possible and not to have to transfer them,” said Warstler. “This is really big for the city of Canton to have this,” agreed retiring Police Chief, Jack Angelo, “I’m just glad it’s done before I left.”
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