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LA To Study 'Next Generation 911' To Allow Text Messaging, Photos

LOS ANGELES ( — A Los Angeles City Councilman urged officials Friday to study an upgraded 911 service that would allow residents to instantaneously transmit a wide range of information to 911 operators, including text messages, photos and videos.

KNX 1070's Pete Demetriou reports Councilmember Paul Krekorian is urging the city to study "Next Generation 911" in an effort to dramatically improve the city's emergency call processing.

LA To Study 'Next Generation 911' To Allow Text Messaging, Photos

Under a motion authored by Krekorian, Next Generation 911 would accept text messaging and allow for instant communication with local emergency response systems.

Because the system relies on broadband technology and can transmit a wide range of information immediately, Krekorian said Next Generation 911 also has practical uses in an emergency.

"Take, for example, a situation where someone has a home invader, and they're hiding in a closet and they don't want their voice to be heard," he said. "Shouldn't they have the opportunity to send that text and get an immediate response?"

While an estimated 80 percent of Americans use their cell phones to send and receive text messages, photos and videos, the technology that most people use to communicate is not compatible with LA's emergency response system, according to Krekorian.

Currently, LA residents can only contact 911 by placing a phone call.

Nearly 100 cities around the country are either updating or considering changes to their 911 systems to accommodate text messaging.

Krekorian's motion gives city staff six months to analyze and report back on how LA can achieve Next Generation 911 capability.

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