GALESBURG — Law enforcement officials are encouraging residents to sign up for an information system. That is for Smart911, a new dispatch service that has been live since June 1. It allows residents to send in images to police authorities as well as register a name, residence and other information that would appear for dispatch as officers respond to a call to their cell phone number. Information that could also be included could range from number of people in the house to specific medical conditions and/or prescriptions.
Knox County Sheriff Dave Clague said the news release issued Tuesday afternoon was done in part because not many residents have signed up for the program since its June launch. Smart911 was approved by the Knox County Board in February for about $20,000 to install with an annual fee of $15,000.
It will be paid for with the public safety tax voters approved in 2014.
Officials have recently gone to specific areas to hand out information on the program, Clague said.
"It's only as good as the cell phone owner makes it. Now they can still use their cell phone to call 911 in the event of an emergency, but the profile that can be placed under that number, subscriber information, is very important," Clague said.
That information would also be available to 911 dispatch centers that also use the program, such as Rock Island County.
"It would be very, very minimal" the amount of residents that have signed up, Clague said.
"It's disappointing. I think going in we all realized that it was going to take a period of time. There's some people out there that are reluctant to sign up in fear of that information being obtained by the wrong hands, which the company we go through has been doing this since back in the 1990s and never has there been a breach in any of this information."
No pictures have been submitted to police dispatch so far either, which Clague said was another disappointment.
"With that, typically there's going to be a crime that either is being committed or has been committed and we know there are witnesses out there, and they would use their cell phone to take pictures of anything else and put it on Facebook," he said.
"Why can't they take pictures of a crime scene and send that off?"
Residents can submit their information through smart911.com and register their cell phone number and any information they choose to share.