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Trumbull County 911 Center better equipped to dispatch calls from cell phones

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TRUMBULL COUNTY, Ohio - Starting Wednesday, the Trumbull 911 Center is better equipped to dispatch help to emergency calls from cell phones. The director says the state has recognized the county as being Phase Two compliant.

"That's where the cell phone ... we get latitude and longitude and we're able to track that phone to an exact location," says Trumbull 911 Center director Ernie Cook.

Cook calls it's a big step because of the wide spread use of cell phones.

"Over the years, it's increased now to about 74 pecent of our calls," Cook says.

While most people making a wireless call to 911 can describe their emergency and give their location, Cook says there are numerous scenarios where that is not the case.

"Maybe it's a juvenile that is very young that knows to call 911 ... he doesn't know his address where he is staying at," he says.

Last year, there was a house fire that killed four people in Warren. A young girl called for help on a cell phone but was too frightened to give the dispatcher an address before the call was cut off.

Another upgrade at the center is called AVL for automatic vehicle locator. It shows the dispatcher a map with the exact location of a patrol car.

"It shows me his car where he is at ... tells me the address where he's at and what time he got on scene," he says.

Due to legal challenges by some smaller 911 dispather centers, Trumbull is the last county in the state to implement the cell phone enhancement. Cook says that has all been resolved.

"But everybody's moving forward. The whole county is going phase two compliant together so we've got a good team of people working together," Cook says.

Cook says the next 911 upgrade is just around the corner. It will allow texting and video streaming to 911.

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