Jefferson County 911 System Gets ‘Smart’ Upgrade
Several Jefferson County law enforcement agencies have rolled out Smart911, a system designed to improve their response to emergency calls.
Rave Mobile Safety’s Smart911 is a database that links phone numbers with user-generated profiles containing such information as medical conditions, family contacts and photos.
Westminster, Lakewood and Arvada police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department started using the system Tuesday.
Officials said the system will save time and lives.
“Say you have a child who is missing: if you had a picture of them in your profile, that could be sent to our cars within seconds,” Lakewood police spokesman Steve Davis said.
Likewise, if a dispatcher received a call and no one was speaking, he or she could still send out a crew if the caller’s medical information was posted on the system.
The program is voluntary and the information in the profiles is stored on an encrypted Smart911 server. Profiles are displayed only to emergency personnel when they are called, Davis said.
The Jefferson County 911 Authority Board is paying for the service.
Lakewood police received nearly 105,000 calls to 911 last year. The Jefferson County sheriff received 67,000.
“This service provides far richer information than is currently available and will give the call taker a more complete understanding of the situation at hand,” Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink said.
Davis said he expects people to begin participating once they realize its potential.
“It can be really chaotic at a scene when there is an emergency,” Davis said. “People have a hard time getting their thoughts together and relaying information to us, which is where this system really comes in handy.”
Twenty-two states are currently using the system. One of the first was Tennessee, which implemented Smart911 in 2010, Rave Mobile Safety spokeswoman Jessica Olson said.
“It is very useful, especially because so many people don’t have landlines and use their cell phone if there is an emergency,” she said.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, 70 percent of 911 calls are now made by cell phones.
The idea for the system stemmed from colleges and universities, where almost all emergency calls are made by cell phone, Olson said.
Officials said while they expect many will embrace the system, some will think it goes too far.
“There will be some naysayers, but hopefully they will understand that it is not meant to be intrusive, it is meant to enhance our ability,” Mink said.