Next Generation 911

PFPD receives $400,000 grant for cutting-edge phone system

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POST FALLS - In the emergency world, 911 has a lot of catching up to do with technology and social media.

But hold on. It's being worked on.

And Post Falls Police - courtesy of a $400,000 grant - will be prepared when Next Generation 911 (NG911) arrives.

The agency will receive a 911 phone system that will be compliant with NG911 technology that will enable the public to transmit text, images, video and data directly to 911 centers.

"It's equipment that will be critical to our success," Chief Scot Haug said. "The system will put us on the cutting edge of the next generation of technology."

NG911 is an initiative aimed at improving public emergency communication services in a wireless, mobile society.

The grant from the Idaho Emergency Communications Commission - paid for by 911 funds the commission receives each month from wired and wireless phone users to enhance systems - does not require a match from the city. The system, which also comes with two years of service, will be installed next summer after bids are received.

The grant will pay for the entire system.

"This is a big bonus for the taxpayers of Post Falls," Haug said. "Had we not gotten the grant, whether we like it or not, we would have had to look to the city's general fund to replace our system. That's money the city just doesn't have available right now."

Haug said PFPD's current phone system was installed in 2003 and won't be supported by the city's vendor starting next year.

Haug said when the agency realized it was going to have to replace the system, Carol Prosser and Charlene Holbrook of the department went on the grant-seeking trail.

PFPD last year launched a system allowing people to email or text crime through a non-911 system to crime@pfpd.us. The system is not an alternative to 911. If you need emergency assistance you still need to call 911.

Haug said the new 911 phone system will be more reliable than the current text-a-crime feature, however.

PFPD handles emergency calls for Rathdrum in addition to Post Falls. Its 911 center is also a backup to the county's system.

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