On December 13th of 2005, voters in Oklahoma County will decide whether to approve a 50 cent per cell phone monthly tax to pay for enhanced 911 service for cell phones. The enhancements would give emergency dispatchers the ability to pinpoint a cell caller's location.
Currently, when a person dials 911 from their cell phone, they are directed to the emergency services dispatcher as any other 911 call would be. However, the dispatcher has no way to tell by phone ID where the caller is located. If the caller does not know, or is disconnected before they can give, their current location, emergency response becomes nearly impossible.
The tax, a 50 cent monthly tax on each cell phone, will pay for enhanced services, giving emergency dispatchers the ability to pinpoint the caller's location without the caller identifying it. If the measure passes, officials expect the service to be in place within the next 18 months.
BackgroundAccording to statistics, nearly half of all 911 calls in Oklahoma are placed using cell phones. However, unlike a call from a land line, a cell call to emergency services gives the dispatcher very little information about the caller.
Most agree that something needs to be done to fix the problem, that the situation grows more and more critical with the continued increase in use of cell phones. The major disagreement lies in the method of correction.