Lake County updating 911 system

Upgrades are on the way to Lake County’s emergency 911 system, to the tune of $118,000. It is technology and upgrades officials say will save lives.

Hundreds of emergency calls come into Lake County’s 911 call centers every day. Lake County is replacing six outdated analog emergency recording systems with new ones. “It’ll allow us to record items like text, and video," says Gregory Holcomb, Lake County’s 911 Coordinator.  "Anything coming in, in a technology digital world.”

There’s nothing in-house yet, but Holcomb says there will be sign language support, and you’ll eventually be able to text 911. He says you’ll also eventually be able to use video too.  "It’s the next generation is to be able to send video also, live from a scene to a 911 system. In order to do so, you have to have the technologies in place to be able to record and collect that data.”

Holcomb said being able to converse with 911 via video is crucial.  He explained, “It’s extremely important. If you had a fire or an auto accident, it would give first responders information that they may not have prior to arriving on the scene today.”

Kengela Smith, who lives in Lake County, thinks it's wonderful idea.  "I think they should do that.”  Smith said she has had to call 911 before while trapped in a closet, afraid to speak to 911.  “I would've just texted them my address,” she said.  All she could do she said, was call 911 and stay quiet.  "If he would've known I was calling the police, he probably would’ve killed me.”

For  thousands of people, life-saving upgrades are on the way. Holcomb said “It will definitely save lives.”

You can expect to be able to text back and forth and video back and forth with a dispatcher in the next 18 months to two years.