NYC, States Study How To Handle Images In 911 Systems


New York City’s plan to accept digital photos and video clips of accidents and crimes via the 911 system raises questions about what to do with all that data on a system that handles 11 million calls a year, says the Associated Press. “It sounds like a good idea because it’s technically doable and because it makes sense and other areas are doing it,” said Alan Reiter, a wireless-data consultant. “The downside is getting swamped with photos.” City officials are not worried about their ability to process all the digital images – or the possibility of hoaxes. “We’re managing information all the time,” said John Feinblatt, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s criminal-justice coordinator. “If somebody calls up and gives us words, we’re assessing those words. Something that we do every day is judge the authenticity of the report and the veracity of the report.”

New York City will be at the forefront of governments upgrading emergency-response systems to take advantage of the wireless age, joining states like Indiana, Tennessee and Vermont. Indiana is in the early stages of planning how incoming pictures would be managed. PowerPhone, a 911 technology and training provider, says its technology gives dispatchers control over which images are accepted. The Connecticut-based company is talking to New York City and smaller municipalities seeking the capacity, said the firm’s Greg Sheehan. “With our system, you can tie the photo or video to an incident report,” he said.


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