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City Council to hold hearing on 911 glitches

The City Council held an emergency hearing at City Hall on Friday to review reported glitches of the city's emergency 911 system.

Credit: Metro File Photo Credit: Metro File Photo

The City Council committees on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, Public Safety and Technology are expected to held a hearing on Friday to review reported glitches of the city's emergency 911 system.

Authorities say no calls have been affected by a series of glitches over the past month, but operators have sometimes been forced to take down information with pen and paper.

The city is undergoing a $2 billion modernization of its 911 system, but the new dispatch computer system has gone down a few times.

The system was blamed for the delayed response to the crash scene where four-year-old Ariel Russo was killed earlier this month. But FDNY officials have maintained that the delay was caused by human error and not by problems with the system.

The hearing was intended for Monday, but City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said "reports of a four-minute delay in responding to Ariel's accident are in part what spurred today's emergency hearing."

Quinn expressed empathy for the Russos and vowed that "today is the first step, but certainly not the last step in [the Council's] work for the Russo family and all New Yorkers."

"Losing a child under any circumstances is beyond tragic, but in this circumstance—when you're left wondering what if, what if the dispatchers had gotten there quickly—it's an unimaginable kind of pain," Quinn said.

The Council is considering bills sponsored by Councilmember Lew Fidler, calling for the city to chart response times based on when calls are placed to 911 and not from when dispatchers send help.

According to sources who reportedly spoke with the New York Post, the Bloomberg administration is on board with these plans.

 
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