an emergency vehicle
Terry Minton / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/asF3Vv

North Carolina is overhauling the technology in its 911 centers to connect better with one another and with cell phones users.

A picture of hands texting on a smartphone.
jhaymesisvip / flickr.com/photos/jhaymesisvip/6497720753

Cary's 911 Communications Center can now communicate with people via text message.

Supervisor Doug Workman said this option is available for people who can not make a phone call to dispatch.

"This is very useful in a domestic violence situation, where you as the victim would be able to contact the police where you're not having to speak it out," Workman says.

He adds that it also serves people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Durham Police
Durham Police Department

The Durham Police Department is investigating an incident in which an officer lied about receiving a 911 call from a residence to gain access to the home and serve a warrant.

The officer told a District Court judge in May that it was a common practice within Durham's police department.

Police Chief Jose Lopez issued a memo to the department stating that fabricating 911 calls is not a policy.

City Manager Tom Bonfield says he assumes this is an isolated incident, but that it's unacceptable and bears investigation.

Raleigh/Wake Emergency Communications Center
Dave DeWitt

If you use a cell phone to call 9-1-1 from your home or office, there's a good chance the dispatch center will receive inaccurate coordinates to your location. That's according to a report from the Federal Communications Commission.

Wireless providers deliver location information to 9-1-1 centers with each call. Land line calls include a name and address. The FCC established location accuracy standards when people generally used land lines at home and cell phones on the road. But now, 70 percent of 9-1-1 calls come from cell phones.

Raleigh/Wake Emergency Communications Center
Dave DeWitt

It’s been one year since the ten digit dialing requirement was put into place in the 919 area code. It immediately caused an increase in the number of misdials coming into the 911 call centers in the Triangle. Twelve months later, the problem hasn't gone away. 

The calls come in waves, at all times of the day, to the Raleigh/Wake County Emergency Communications Center in the basement of the City Hall building. If the caller who misdials stays on the line and admits their error, it's an easy situation for the dispatcher to handle.