Update on 911 Problems

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From my police scanner:

Police Officer--Wasn't there a call to this address earlier today?

911 Communicator--Ever since that Y2L thing came through, the computer hasn't been showing the proper history, but I remember there was one earlier, I just can't remember what it was about.

End of quoting.

The 911 system files calls under the appropriate addresses in reverse chronological order. "Ever since that Y2K thing came through," Durham's 911 system has logged year 2000 calls anywhere in the last six years, mostly in 1992 and 1993. Hence, if an officer is called to an address where there has been a recent history of weapon involvement, it is likely he or she will not get that vital information. In addition, paramedics called to an address may not learn about a patient's recent medical history, thereby losing vital minutes when they could have been immediately prepared; firefighters may not learn about hazardous materials on site. This is the eighth day and the problem is still not fixed.

I believe Taz reported similar problems with her local 911 system in Florida.

One has to wonder what other not so obvious data other systems are filing improperly. Real estate records? Vital statistics? Mortgage payments? We already know some credit card systems are screwed up. Hang on to your receipts and records, folks.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), January 08, 2000


Thanks much for that update -- I've been wondering about it ever since you first posted it. Has your friend been able to provide any further insight?

-- Ned Raggett (ned@kuci.org), January 08, 2000.



-- (squirrel@huntr.com), January 08, 2000.

Ned, I do have some further information now. The vendor is HTE which, according to its website at http://www.hteinc.com, provides software for government, public safety, justice, utilities, education, and resource management, and also provides technical services, training and education. This information is not to be construed as meaning there are glitches in HTE's other products or indeed that HTE is responsible for the glitch in question.

Unless there is a quick fix available, the only solution seems to be to rebuild the database with four-digit dates. The number of records is staggering over the six-year period involved--I can't recall the exact number of 911 calls per year but it's got to be well over 100,000. And, yes, there was a Y2K update.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), January 08, 2000.

*nods* A pain in the butt no matter how you consider it, to put it mildly. My random guess would be that if they have to rebuild, then perhaps they're starting with calls from this past year, or last six months, ie the most recent events and therefore the strongest ones with potential for repeat in the near future. Someone's putting in the late-shift hours.

Not that this is a new subject at all, but the variances in how databases are being treated/fixed/whatever continues to surprise me. That may be an 'uh duh' point ;-) but the fact that a 911 database gets goofed while my own work database -- a library catalog, massive but not responsible for life or death -- is fixed and running almost a year in advance is incredibly distressing (it was pretty easy for us to test it -- we have loan periods for faculty and staff for a full year, so last January we checked some books out after New Year, and voila, due in 2000, spelled out with all four digits as such; the rest of the year was spent in various refining and retesting to be on the safe side, and we're totally doing great after a week of heavy use this year). As time passes and something becomes clearer through the murk, I'd have to say that reviewing exactly what this 911 organization -- and any one suffering similarly -- did or didn't do would simply be a matter of public service. As to whether we'll ever get that chance even if life goes on, *shrug*.

-- Ned Raggett (ned@kuci.org), January 08, 2000.

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