By: Diane Benjamin
In 2014 the Bloomington City Council heard the results of a study they commissioned to exam the 911 system. See the report here:
PDF page 17: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=7555
The purpose of the report:
The report is extensive and may or may not still reflect reality. Recommendations for future updates are included, I don’t know if any have been completed. It appears that in 2014 Bloomington had a state-of-the-art system while Metcom did not. (Of course Bloomington paid for the report) Metcom also did not have the space needed to consolidate with Bloomington. Because of the summary below the City Council did not move forward with a consolidation: (PDF page 37)
The reason for this story is to look at how many 911 calls are routed to the wrong dispatch center.
When a call is made to 911 in McLean County it may be answered by Metcom or by Bloomington. If it isn’t answered by the right dispatcher, the call needs to be transferred.
On PDF page 36 reference is made to consolidating virtually through technology. I have no idea where that process stands or if it is being pursued.
I filed a FOIA request with both the County and Bloomington for the number of calls transferred.
The County didn’t have a problem supplying that information:
When minutes, if not seconds matter in an emergency – that’s a lot of calls.
What I received from Bloomington isn’t as clear: 2018_Call_Count_by_Month_per_Xfer_Conf_Target_Redacted
The second page appears to show only 298 calls were transferred to Metcom from the Bloomington dispatch center.
With a lot of people only using cell phones now, technology may not be keeping up. Obviously the volume of calls Metcom receives in error means location service wasn’t working well enough in 2018.
When calling 911 is the first thing you need to ask “Which dispatch center did I reach?”
It shouldn’t be.
The Bloomington City Council members not familiar with the report should read it and ask for updates. I don’t think a clear explanation of why the recent extended outage occurred has been given either.
The report has some other recommendations and information on increasing revenue (taxes). I hope nobody gets any ideas from it.