Pick up a phone today and dial 911, and you’re call will be picked up in Sandy Springs. Sunday night, calls were still being direct to DeKalb County’s 911 center in Tucker.
The city switched over to the Chattahoochee River 911 Authority – ChatComm – Monday afternoon. ChatComm also serves Sandy Springs and Johns Creek.
The change was six months in the making. The Dunwoody City Council approved moving 911 service from DeKalb County to ChatComm.
The new service provides dedicated dispatchers for Dunwoody Police, something the city has never had. However, it still has to transfer all fire and EMS calls to DeKalb County. Around 90 percent of the city’s 911 calls are police calls.
“Based on ChatComm’s consistent track record answering and dispatching calls for the Sandy Springs and John Creek Police Departments, the Dunwoody Police Department looks forward to continuing to efficiently and effectively responding to the needs of our citizens,” said Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan, in a city press release.
Not everybody was looking forward to the change. Councilman he feels it puts residents in danger.
When the city signed on with ChatComm, it was expected that there would be a CAD to CAD transfer when ChatComm operators answer fire and EMS calls. That system would allow ChatComm call takers to electronically send any information collect in a call directly to DeKalb County dispatch.
With one button transfer, the call is answered by a ChatComm call taker, then transferred to a DeKalb County call taker who sends it on to dispatch.
A CAD-to-CAD system is expected to be in place by the second quarter of 2012, city officials said.
The city is asking residents and businesses to help with the transition by reviewing the transition of their 911 fees on their current phone bill(s). The State of Georgia gives cities the ability to assess a $1.50 fee per phone line (landline, mobile, and VoIP) per month to assist with the funding of location-based technology ensuring emergency responders are dispatched to the correct location.
Prior to ChatComm, DeKalb County collected the 911 fee. With the transition, all 911 fees should go directly to the City to continue paying for 911 services. However, many of the 911 fees collected from Dunwoody residents and businesses may inadvertently continue to go to DeKalb County, the city said.
The city is asking people to look for the 911 fee line item in their monthly phone bill to make sure it it going to Dunwoody and not the county.