States are stealing funds from 9-1-1 emergency services — now they’ll be punished

BY MICHAEL O’RIELLY AND JESSICA ROSENWORCEL

Next week, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first 9-1-1 telephone call. That simple act helped revolutionize emergency communications. From it, we eventually grew a nationwide emergency calling system, which has helped make our communities both safer and stronger, saving countless lives in the process.

Today, no matter who or where you are, when critical life moments occur, Americans can dial 9-1-1 and know that help is on the way.

With the digital age, many of our nation’s 9-1-1 systems require upgrades. More calls now come in from wireless phones and pinpointing the location of those in danger requires updated technology and training for public safety personnel. Moreover, coming down the road are new capabilities, such as integrated pictures and multimedia, that could enhance emergency calling.

Preparing for this future takes effort — and prudent funding. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to get there without first halting 9-1-1 fee diversion.

This opinion article was written by Michael O’Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel and appears in thehill.com dated February 9, 2018. The views expressed are their own.

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