Wolcott is 1st in Connecticut to roll out 911 system that can pinpoint cell call locations

Associated Press

The town of Wolcott on Thursday became the first in the state to begin using a new 911 system that will allow police to pinpoint the location of emergency calls made from cellphones.

The Republican-American newspaper reports (http://bit.ly/1LozHdg ) the new system is able to locate the origin of a cellphone call to within a 50-foot radius. Under the old system, police could find the location of a wireless 911 call within a quarter-mile.

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The town's Next-Gen 911 system is part of a pilot program that eventually will include the police departments in New Britain, Wilton, Enfield, Newington, Valley Shore, Fairfield, Middletown, Mashantucket and Shelton.

The state hopes to have the technology installed at all Connecticut's public safety answering points by next spring.

"They're going to monitor the pilot locations and see how it's working, and if it's working satisfactorily, that's when main rollout will begin," said Sgt. Shane Hassett, a state police spokesman.

About 80 percent of 911 calls come from wireless phones.

The Next-Gen technology eventually will allow police departments to receive 911 text messages.

"Let's say someone is locked in a closet and can't talk on the phone," Police Chief Edward Stephens told the newspaper. "Dispatchers will be able to receive a text and send a response back."

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Information from: Republican-American, http://www.rep-am.com