Wisconsin Senate passes 9-1-1 system upgrade

| 6/30/2003

The Wisconsin Senate unanimously approved a bill earlier this month clearing the way for an upgrade of 9-1-1 emergency services for cell phone users statewide, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

However, opponents of the bill warned that the legislation was flawed and wouldn’t match the quick response 9-1-1 callers already receive.

AB61, which was returned to the Assembly, would provide funding for one 9-1-1 answering center in each county. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Phil Montgomery, R-Green Bay, would let the Public Service Commission set a monthly fee on the state’s 2.5 million cell phones to pay for the computer equipment and software to help pinpoint the location of cell phone users who dial 9-1-1.

David Sleeter, director of the Rock County, WI, Communications Center, told the newspaper funding only one center per county would require dispatchers to transfer calls, delay rescue squads and run the risk of losing calls.

“We’re hoping and actually praying for the citizens of the state of Wisconsin who have a perception that this bill will provide them the same services that land line 9-1-1 does now,” Sleeter said. “I’m quite sure that that will not happen in its present form.”