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In emergencies, local cell phones now make right call

By: Staff report
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With the technology finally in place, the Placer County Sheriff’s Department has started receiving 911 calls from cellular phones. Sheriff’s dispatchers began receiving 911 cellular calls this week, but sheriff’s officials warn that the technology is still emerging and that there may be glitches until the system is refined. Also, each cellular carrier is being phased in separately and all companies should have the service within the next few months. Until now, cellular phone users who dialed 911 were connected to California Highway Patrol dispatchers statewide and were often put on hold for long periods of time as their calls were routed to the correct local law enforcement agency. The new system saves time that can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations. “I believe this change will be a significant improvement in our ability to serve the public,” said Sheriff Ed Bonner in a news release. “A cellular call will now be routed immediately to the appropriate public safety dispatch center saving precious minutes.” The Roseville Police Department also recently completed a system overhaul allowing it to receive emergency calls made within the city of Roseville. When dialing 911 from a cell phone, calls should be for immediate assistance – police, fire or medical services only. Callers should be prepared to provide their location and any essential information the dispatcher may need. Callers should stay on the line until they are told to hang up since they may need to be transferred to another agency. There are some exceptions to the new call system, however. If a caller dials 911 from a state highway or freeway, the call will still go to the CHP. Callers are always urged to call 911 from a landline, instead of a cell phone, if one is available. This offers dispatchers the most accurate information to assist callers. To assure that a 911 call goes to the local law enforcement jurisdiction, cellular phone users can program in local emergency and non-emergency numbers. Some local numbers include: Roseville Police Department, emergency, 786-6444, non-emergency 774-5000; Placer County Sheriff, non-emergency (530) 889-7800, emergency (530) 886-5375; Auburn Police Department, emergency, (530) 823-4222, non-emergency (530) 823-4234; Lincoln Police Department, emergency and non-emergency, 645-4040; Rocklin Police Department, emergency, 623-4093, non-emergency 625-5400; and State Parks, emergency 358-1310 and non-emergency 358-1300. An informational pamphlet about when to call 911 from cell phones is available online at the sheriff’s Web site, www.placer.ca.gov/sheriff.