Thursday, June 11, 2009

Texting 911 -- imagine the reply "you texted to 911, if this is not an emergency . . .

please text to the local police text number -- 555-0911 -- or post your non-emergency to our Facebook or MySpace wall or send us a message on Twitter to @yourpolicedepartment."

We noted in Can we text to 911, too? there aren't too many police departments on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter yet (though there has been some improvement), but . . . I can text the local PD to report a crime via text. We couldn't . . . text to 911 and have Google Latitude (My Location) share your current location with the police (if we choose).

Well now it's possible! (at least texting to 911, in Des Moines)

Black Hawk's dispatch center is believed to be the first in the nation capable of communicating with 911 "callers" via standard text-messaging, a big breakthrough as the country's emergency responders race to keep up with the rapid evolution of human communication.

In the understatement of the year, Barbara Vos, the state's 911 program manager, said:

"A lot of people want to text 911 - we know that"

I just wonder why this wasn't considered early on . . . must not have involved a government bureaucrat -- they know everything about business!

What do you think?

Monday, June 01, 2009

I expect that the police departments across our nation will need to consider funding alternatives soon

. . . so imagine the local government has reached the end of their economic rope and can no longer find adequate funding for the police department.

Dispatcher: "911 emergency, what's your emergency?"
Caller: "Someone stole my television."
Dispatcher: "No problem, ma'am, we'll have someone stop by between 8-12 this morning, or would 1-5 this afternoon be better?"
Caller: "8-12 is good, what will this cost me?"
Dispatcher: "That depends, ma'am. If all we do is take a report for your insurance company, we can do that for a flat rate of $50. If you want us to investigate the crime then it would cost you the initial $50 plus $50 an hour. We usually put about 6 hours into an investigation."
Caller: "Oh, I thought my tax dollars took care of that. What happens if I choose the flat rate and then you identify the person who stole my television while investigating another crime?"
Dispatcher: "Your tax dollars haven't covered the law enforcement we provide for almost 10 years, ma'am. If we identify the thief while conducting another investigation, you would be responsible for a cost-sharing with the other victim from the point where we identify your property. We would, of course, call you to notify you should that occur. We can do split billing, for an additional $25 each, or you can agree on the amount and get one bill."
Caller: "Oh, well thank you."
Dispatcher: "Did you want us to send someone out?"
Caller: "Uh, no. The television only cost $400 and was over 5 years old anyway, and I've been eying a new flat screen."
Dispatcher: "OK, well tell the store clerk that your television was stolen -- many stores will give you a 10% discount if you file a report."
Caller: "But I'm not."
Dispatcher: "Your loss, ma'am."
Caller: OK, thanks."

What do you think?