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Las Vegas Metro PD Expediting 9-1-1 System Upgrade After Hour-long Breakdown

Date: 2015-07-22
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One Sunday night last month, within an hour, more than 400 people who called 9-1-1 got a busy signal

-based on a report by Conor Shine/Las Vegas Sun

During a single evening on Sunday, June 28, some 409 people in Las Vegas called 9-1-1 to report an emergency to the Metro Police, and each of the callers received a busy signal. 

The Las Vegas Metro Police have stated that the technology that runs the county’s 9-1-1 dispatch system needs to be replaced because it is too old to be properly maintained.  Overhauling that system, however, could take more than two years, a prolonged process that Metro is telling the Clark County Commission leaves the valley susceptible to a "more serious, prolonged outage."

The outage, and how a future recurrence might be prevented, was discussed during the Commission’s meeting on July 21st.

Metro wants the Commission to expedite changes to the building that houses the 9-1-1 system that would allow it to install the new technology more quickly. Specifically, they need to raise the floor to allow room for new cables and power conduits — and they don’t want to wait in line until the county completes the 130 projects that are currently scheduled ahead of the improvements at the dispatch. Instead, Metro is asking permission to conduct the project itself.

The outage began at 10PM on June 28th and continued through 5AM the next morning, Metro sources told the Las Vegas Sun. “During the first hour of the outage, 9-1-1 callers were greeted by a busy signal,” the newspaper’s report explained.  “Around 11PM, Metro PD began diverting 9-1-1 calls to dispatchers in Henderson and North Las Vegas.”

The 9-1-1 system used by Clark County, which has jurisdiction over the Las Vegas “strip” and operates the Metro Police, has been in need of replacement for several years, which must begin with having the floor raised to install new cables and power conduits necessary for an upgraded system.  Funding has been received in this year's budget to complete the upgrade – but the normal procedure is be to have the project completed by the county’s Real Property Management department, which has a waiting list of some 130 project currently scheduled ahead of dispatch center improvements and thus could take as long as 12 to 18 months to complete.

Until the floor is raised, Metro can't start the 9-1-1 system replacement, so they are asking the Commission for permission to conduct the project itself.

"I don't think there's a higher priority as far as public safety goes," said Commissioner Larry Brown. "We can't let this happen again."

Read the original story online at Las Vegas Sun

- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (Las Vegas Sun, 7/21/15)

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