Stark Co. first to use streaming video technology for 911
911, What's your emergency?" It's an all too familiar question that's even sensationalized in movies and television, but it's a question you hope is never asked of you.
But if it is, hopefully, the best technology is in place to help you through your crisis. Ohio is working to do just that. It's called Next Generation 911.
21 News traveled to the Stark County Sheriff's Department to get a first-hand look at what's next for 911 technology.
A technology that includes streaming video chatting or messaging a dispatcher and pinpointing a caller's location.
Neighboring Stark County is the first in the state, and only the 9th in the country to implement Carbyne's c-Lite Technology in their Next Generation 911 system.
It enables dispatchers to stream video in real-time from a caller's phone, and map out their exact location if they're lost, confused, or cannot talk.
Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier says, "The live stream video from people's phones -- no special software is needed in their phones."
Dispatchers say this state of the art technology is a real game-changer, that could save critical time and lives.
Terry Curry, Supervisor of Stark County Communications, says, "Not only can we now pinpoint a location for them, but we're also able to see their surroundings. We can move the first responders to them. Our 911 Center and our dispatchers have utilized the system several times already. To nail down a caller's location, and also during a recent domestic violence incident."
Stark County 911 Dispatcher Jonathan Murray says it's an advance in technology that's making a difference. "In a populated area like Canton, where the houses are stacked one on top of the other, we can really find out which house you're at, versus guessing amongst 20 to 30 houses."
What makes this new 911 technology so critically important, if you're in a crisis, you can still communicate with police dispatchers without anyone knowing. Because you can chat on your phone with the dispatcher, and others may just think you're sending a text.
It works like this. When you call 911 in Stark County, dispatchers can immediately send a link to your phone to enable video and messaging (or online chatting.
Click the link, and first responders can view what you're shooting on the camera in real-time. It will also alert them to your location. And you don't have to talk. If you're in a situation where you're critically injured, or fearful someone can hear you.
"They can tell us what's going on without having to speak out loud where the suspect may actually hear them," Dispatcher Murray said.
It's important to mention that dispatchers can not access anything else on your phone, just the video you are shooting at the time, and when you disconnect, any further access to your phone is impossible without your permission.
Friday on 21 News 6 P.M., we'll explore where the Valley stands when it comes to the latest in 911 technology. Could live streaming video be right around the corner for us?