CO - 911 System Down for Over 2 Hours : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Title: 911 System Down for Over 2 Hours as Repairs Made

Police Calls Rerouted to Outside Dispatchers in Early Morning Hours

By Hector Gutierrez Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

April 13, 2000

The entire Douglas County sheriff's communications system shut down for more than two hours early Wednesday as phone workers made repairs.

The disruption was minimal because of the early hour but residents would not have been able to get through to the Douglas County Justice Center on a 10-digit number the Sheriff's Department publicized as an alternative to 911.

US West spokeswoman Anna Osborn said that 911 traffic was rerouted to other dispatch circuits. But the dispatchers would have been forced to communicate with Douglas County emergency personnel by radio and cellular phones if an emergency had occurred.

Sheriff's Sgt. Attila Denes said authorities were unaware of any emergencies between 4:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. when their communications system was on tilt.

"There was a complete outage for the Justice Center," Denes said. "There was no phone traffic in or out to the justice center at all for about 21/2 hours. It was pretty antsy for awhile."

US West workers traced the damage, which occurred Tuesday afternoon, to a fiber cable in the Happy Canyon community about five miles north of Castle Rock. Phone company officials learned that one of their contractors working on a 1,700-foot cable accidentally damaged the line about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Residents and motorists in Douglas County who may have needed emergency help and dialed 911 heard busy signals. So, they were instructed to call the administrative line, 303-660-7500.

At 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, however, no one was able to get through because that's when repairs began. US West repair crews needed to replace the large cable and cut the fiber so they could splice in the new section, Osborn said.

"We tried to get this done as quickly as possible," Osborn said. "That was a time when hopefully the traffic was less."

Osborn said the repairs to the cable also may have affected the long distance service for some customers because some of the traffic was carried on the fiber.

About 7 a.m. the repairs had been made but any calls for Douglas County sheriff's assistance continued to be patched through to backup centers until later in the morning.

Castle Rock's 911 communications system was up and running shortly before noon.

"But we were kind of holding our breath during that period of time, too," Castle Rock police Chief Tony Lane said.


-- (, April 13, 2000

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