There are three ways that a call can come in to the dispatch center via the 911 system. Those three ways are conventional telephone, wireless (cellular), and transfer from another agency. Each has different problems they pose for the dispatcher.
- The conventional caller, while usually calling from within the city limits, is not always calling to report a problem within the city and therefore must be transferred to the appropriate agency.
- The wireless caller is not always in the city limits and often times does not know the area from which they are calling, so it is imperative that the dispatcher be familiar, not only with the city limits, but the areas surrounding them as well.
- The transfer caller is someone who is either calling from outside the city on a conventional phone and has information regarding a problem inside the city or is a cellular caller who is trying to report a problem they saw that had occurred in the city limits.
All three are answered on the same 911 system and if need be, can be transferred to other agencies via the 911 system. The 911 system itself is windows-based with software that enables it to retrieve a caller’s address, telephone number, and plot their location on a map when calling from a conventional phone. When calling from a cell phone, the system will currently display the location of the cell tower site on a map, and for all but a few cellular companies, display the telephone number of the caller. For obvious reasons, an address cannot be displayed, but future technical advancements mandated by the FCC, call for 911 providers and cellular companies to develop equipment that will be able to locate a cellular caller within 50 meters of their location within this next year and provide the phone number from which the call is being placed. All of the computers and associated equipment that is used for the 911 system is provided to the city by the Greater Harris County 911 District and is paid for by everyone who has a telephone via a fee assessed on the phone bill. As nice and as advanced as this equipment is, it would not be worth very much if there was not a place to store it. In Jersey Village, the 911 system s housed in the communication center located within the police services building.