MO - Glitches Beset Stone County 911 Service, About Half of Calls Give Wrong Location; Some Find Erroneous Bills : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

[Fair use for education and research purpose only] Title: Glitches Beset Stone County 911 Service

About Half of Calls Give Wrong Location; Some Residents Find Erroneous Bills.

By Kathryn Buckstaff News-Leader - April 13, 2000

GALENA  Flaws in Stone Countys new 911 system have prompted officials to urge residents to double-check their addresses and phone bills.

Since the system went into operation 2O weeks ago, about half of the calls coming to the 911 dispatch center in Branson West dont display the callers proper location. Some callers to 911 hear a recording saying the service isnt available. And some people are noticing erroneous charges on their telephone bills.

When a dispatcher receives a 911 call from one of approximately 18,000 phone lines in the county, the new system is supposed to display a map with the callers location flashing, said Stone County Sheriff Richard Hill.

And thats not happening in about 50 percent of our calls right now, he said. In that case, dispatchers must rely on the caller to pinpoint their location. So far, the glitch hasnt resulted in any life-threatening emergencies, he said.

Over six years of preparation for the 911 system, the county did global positioning maps of every house and intersection in the county, designated physical addresses and submitted that information to the two telephone companies that provide the equipments databases, Hill said.

But in some cases, the telephone companies databases still show billing addresses that could be a post office box or out-of-town locations in the case of summer homes, said GTE spokesman Don Neely.

Were working night and day to get the databases updated, Neely said. GTE is calling Stone County residents from 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays and on Saturdays to confirm that the address and the phone number and the person living there all jibe, Neely said. Some of the people know their new 911 addresses, but were finding out that about 45 percent dont know the new address.

Malcom Vedane, director of Stone County Emergency Services, said hes encouraged that the telephone companies are beginning to work with the county. Initially, he met with resistance, he said.

Im very, very guardedly optimistic that they are starting to walk like they talk, Vedane said. They have admitted responsibility, and they are taking some accountability.

The overbilling problem is also complex.

Joy Propst, who lives in rural Stone County, said shell be getting a $75 credit on her phone bill. A neighbor mentioned the problem, prompting Propst to examine a recent bill where she saw a charge for Emergency Service Tax.

Thats the way Taney County residents pay for their 911 service. But Stone County residents in November 1996 voted to pay via a M-cent sales tax. Many Stone and Taney county residents have the same telephone prefix numbers, and apparently GTE and Southwestern Bell dont always take county lines into account.

Propst figures shes been paying the unnecessary fee since Taney Countys 911 service went into effect in November 1993.

I should have noticed it on my bill a long time ago, she said.

What to do

Know your new address?

Stone County residents who dont know their new 911 emergency address should call Stone County Emergency Services at 339-3377 or go to the office at 105 Stonebridge Parkway 1.3 miles east of Branson West just off Missouri 76.

Check your phone bill

Stone County residents pay for 911 service through sales tax. If you live in Stone County and see a charge for Emergency Service Tax on your GTE or Southwestern Bell telephone bill, call the telephone business office listed in the front of your phone book and asked for a refund. Copyright . 2000, The Springfield News-Leader.


-- (, April 13, 2000

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