LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - As technology evolves, legislation to update Michigan’s 911 systems and improve communication was introduced in both the Michigan Senate and House this week. The bills use framework recommended by the State 911 Committee to move forward with Next Generation 911, also known as NG911.
Fully deployed, NG911 allows for callers to send text messages, pictures and videos as well as enhanced location information and crash data from systems such as OnStar and Sirius. NG911 is also more capable in connecting calls between emergency responders and law enforcement members in different areas.
“In an emergency, people need to be able to reach responders with whatever technology they have,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police. “We support these ongoing efforts to modernize the 911 system and remain committed to keeping our citizens safe and connected.”
“Innovation continues to change the way people communicate and these innovations should be put to use saving lives, protecting communities, and making sure that Michigan’s 911 system serves residents well,” said Jim Murray, president of AT&T Michigan. “Leaders like Colonel Etue, Senator Jones and Representative Sheppard are right to make sure Michigan is prepared and our 911 system cutting edge.”
The State 911 Committee is composed of stakeholders from many areas, including: county and local communications center directors, law enforcement personnel, and representatives from both the national and local telecommunication industry. The State 911 Committee made recommendations to the Michigan Legislature as part of its annual report to the legislature in August 2016. This legislation is the culmination of many key stakeholders' efforts to find a permanent solution to Michigan's outdated emergency system.
“There is a significant cost to migrating our great state to Next Generation 911 but there is an even greater cost in the long run if we do nothing”, said Jeff Troyer. “It’s my goal as Chairperson for the State 911 Committee that our citizens and visitors have access to a reliable 911 network, regardless of their location and the type of device they are using to access emergency services, and I greatly appreciate State Senator Rick Jones and State Representative Jason Sheppard for taking a leadership role in making this happen.”
NG911 replaces the current analog 911 network with a digital 911 network, allowing the 911 infrastructure to keep pace with increasing demands on the public safety communications systems and more in line with the methods people are using today to communicate. NG911 has been successfully deployed in the entire Upper Peninsula, parts of northern lower Michigan, and in the thumb. There are also many more counties throughout Michigan who have begun contracting to have their infrastructure updated to meet NG911 standards.