City of Tulsa suffering growing pains with new 911 system


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Reported by: Sara Whaley
Updated: 8/26/2013 11:42 pm Published: 8/26/2013 11:40 pm


The city of Tulsa has a new 911 dispatch system. It’s designed to improve response time, but FOX23 has learned that in its first three weeks, it's done the opposite.

The city is now trying to work out the kinks.

FOX23 found out that the crew at Station 26 and another engine actually responded to a water rescue before being dispatched.

Tritech is a worldwide leader in public safety software.

"This same system is running in Dallas, Austin and Oklahoma City,” interim 911 director Terry O’Malley told FOX23.

However, in the last three weeks, since Tulsa has had the system, response times have been just a hair behind.

There’s a learning curve with new technology. The system looks different than the one they used for the past 15 years, and it uses different commands.

"Putting an officer 10-8 is completely different than what it was in the old system,” training director Justin Porter said. “So we have to memorize all the commands over again."

Those changes have an effect.

In fact, just over a week ago, thanks to scanner traffic, one fire company responded to a call on their own a few minutes before they were dispatched.

We wanted to know why.
O’Malley tells FOX23 that unlike the old system, the new system has the ability to dispatch fire, EMSA, and police at the same time if they are all needed.

It’s a good thing, but seeing this for the first time threw the dispatcher off.

"The screens came up boom, boom, boom,” O’Malley said. “They expected them in a different order."

So police and EMSA were dispatched immediately, and fire a couple of minutes later.

The 911 call center told FOX23 that the updates are good in the long run, they'll just take some getting used to.

In the meantime please know the system is working. First responders are being dispatched when you call.

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