3 On Your Side Investigates: E-911 soon in Jackson and Hinds Co. - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 On Your Side Investigates: E-911 soon in Jackson and Hinds County

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HINDS COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In a WLBT a special report, we examine the missing link to a potential life-saving call in Jackson and Hinds County.

For years officials have neglected to install Phase 2 Technology for Enhanced 911 services.

We have learned that will change this month.

Residents should take a close look at their phone bills, in small print there is a monthly tax charged for 911 emergency service from cell phones. 

But are residents getting the service they are paying for?

For Jackson or Hinds County residents, the answer is simple. No.

Some residents found it shocking.

"I feel that it's not right," said one woman. "Shocking to know they would bill you like that and they are not providing the service."

Our 2010 investigation found Rankin and Madison Counties Phase 2 compliant two years ago.

"If you dial 911 and you are not able to speak, we would still be able to find you via GPS," said a Rankin County EOC operator. 

"What kind of difference does it make? It saves lives, it saves lots of lives."

Enhanced 911. Rescuers can pinpoint your location within 100 yards.

Our investigation revealed Jackson and Hinds County use an antiquated system.

This was our test of the system two years ago. 

"911 where do you need the police?"

"Can you tell me where I am?"

This is a test of your E-911 system.

"You are on Pascagoula Street next to Thalia Mara Hall."

"No, actually I'm on Capitol Street at Lamar."

The 911 operator had no way to track my exact location, only the nearest cell phone tower.

She was 3 blocks off.

I also tested the 911 system right inside a Hinds County Sheriff's dispatch center two years ago.

"No ma'am, not your exact location can you describe to me where you are at?" The operator said.

I was standing right behind her.

Jackson and Hinds County have remained non compliant since 2009.

Despite millions in the account often raided by Hinds County Supervisors to pay other expenses.

Phil Fisher, District 4 Supervisor, answered this question for me.

"So people have been left fairly vulnerable in Hinds County because this system was not in place?"

"Yes I don't disagree with you," Fisher said.

WLBT has learned the missing link to what has long been considered a critical to Homeland Security and life and death emergency responses will be in finally be fully operational March 1st.

 "We are finally here," Fisher said. "We can go back and rehash into the dirt about why, when and wherefore's, but the point is it's here now."

In Byram, 911 operators will no longer have to use a reverse search on Google map to find those in an emergency situation calling from their cell phones.

Luke Thompson, Byram Police Chief, is ready to get his people trained starting this month.

"The quicker we can get help there, the much better off everybody is in the end," Chief Thompson said.

"I'm told this is going to gear up February 27. Are you aware of that?

"We are," Chief Thompson said. 

"Are you ready?"

"We are absolutely yes," Chief Thompson said. "We've been ready."

Within a month, Jackson and Hinds County residents will finally get their monies worth.

Security. Knowing an emergency cell phone call for help will be answered by someone who can find them immediately and respond.

On a side note, WLBT discovered a giant loophole in state law, excess E-911 money can be legally diverted by supervisors thanks to Mississippi legislators.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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