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9-1-1

    Subject of Investigation

    The Grand Jury inquired into 9-1-1 emergency call systems operated by Sacramento County Sheriff, Sacramento Police Department and the California Highway Patrol.

    Reason for Investigation

    The Grand Jury as part of its watchdog responsibilities, examines county and city government to ensure that duties are being lawfully carried out. The Grand Jury reviewed the greater Sacramento 9-1-1 emergency phone system.

    Procedures

    The Grand Jury visited the Sheriff and CHP 9-1-1 Centers and did an inspection tour of the Sacramento City 9-1-1 center. Numerous documents, operating procedures and training materials were reviewed. Administrative and line staff answered questions and presented responses to questions that had been presented. The Grand Jury's in-depth inquiry into the 9-1-1 system was limited to that of the Sacramento Police Department due to time constraints.

    Findings

    Efficient and well-equipped 9-1-1 centers are an essential component of public safety services and should hold a priority status during government planning. Operators and dispatchers at the 9-1-1 centers are usually the first point of contact by citizens requesting emergency police, fire or medical services. There is a high level of cooperation and coordination of efforts between the Sheriff, CHP and Municipal Police 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers.
    All 9-1-1 telephone calls are directed to an emergency operating center depending on the location of the caller and the type of telephone equipment that is used to make the call.

    Hard line telephone calls originating in the unincorporated areas of Sacramento County and from within the City of Citrus Heights are directed to the Sacramento County Sheriff's 9-1-1 emergency call center. Hard line telephone calls originating in municipalities are routed to that city's police 9-1-1 emergency call center.

    Cellular phone calls are routed to the CHP who handle calls within their jurisdiction or transfers the emergency information to the appropriate jurisdiction. The recently opened California Highway Patrol 9-1-1 center in Rancho Cordova is a state-of-the-art communication facility.

    Telephone calls originating on hard line phone systems automatically identify the address and location of the caller. However, cellular 9-1-1 calls can not identify the caller's location and must rely on the caller for location information.

    The inside front covers of local telephone directories provide information on using the 9-1-1 system and alternative non-emergency numbers. It does not describe how the system functions. This deficiency needs to be corrected.

    Sacramento County does not have a three digit non-emergency phone number for callers needing non-emergency information and assistance.

    The Sacramento City Council has voted to build a new Police 9-1-1 Center and has planned the replacement of the existing facility in a 3-year funding plan. They also planned a replacement of the 9-1-1-phone system, but it was placed on hold due to Y2K issues.

    The Grand Jury was impressed by the magnitude and efficiency of the 9-1-1 operation. The management and supervisors were candid and responsive to all questions and observations of the Grand Jury.

    Recommendations

    1. The City of Sacramento should expedite the replacement of the 9-1-1-phone system that was deferred due to the Y2K issue.

    2. The City of Sacramento should complete and open the new 9-1-1 center as quickly as possible. State-of-the-art phone equipment must be part of that building plan.

    3. The County of Sacramento and the cities should develop a task force to explore the feasibility of creating a non-emergency three digit telephone system to hand non-emergency calls to ease the burden on emergency call centers.

    4. The emergency 9-1-1 information page in local phone books should be expanded to include the 9-1-1 call flow chart that was developed for the Grand Jury. (See chart following these recommendations on page 62.)

    5. Coordination and cooperation within the 9-1-1 systems should be formalized and should include the CHP 9-1-1 operations.

    Response Required

    The Penal Code requires that responses to all of the recommendations

contained in this Report be submitted to the Presiding Judge of the Sacramento Superior Court by September 30, 2000, from:

      · Sacramento City Council
      · Sacramento Police Department
      · Sacramento Board of Supervisors
      · Sacramento County Sheriff

1999/2000 Sacramento County Grand Jury - Final Report (Internet Version) June 30, 2000

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