Pima County sheriff's identify issues related to 911 outage

2014-03-18T18:00:00Z 2014-03-18T20:05:45Z Pima County sheriff's identify issues related to 911 outageBy Carmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star

The Pima County Sheriff's Department said it has identified two issues related to why its new 911 system failed Monday afternoon for 23 minutes — affecting 54 calls to the emergency line.

The department's dispatch center moved over the weekend from East Benson Highway to a new 911-dispatch center at East 22nd Street and South Alvernon Way.

The new $102.3 million Pima County Wireless Integrated Network is a new emergency radio dispatch system that will allow first responders from various local agencies to talk to one another on radios. Most local public safety agencies will be using the new radio network soon. 

The transition into the system for the sheriff's department went smoothly and everything worked, said Deputy Courtney Rodriguez, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

However, on Monday there was a glitch in the system that caused a 23-minute interruption in 911 calls to the sheriff's department from 2:43 p.m. to 3:06 p.m. The Sheriff's Department is investigating what happened, Rodriguez said. The areas affected were unincorporated areas in the county, including Sahuarita, said Rodriguez. 

911 services were restored at 3:06 p.m. Monday and have been operational since then, Rodriguez said.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez said of the 54 missed calls, 26 were either duplicate calls or internal testing calls. Of the remaining, 18 callers were contacted to determine their emergencies, six callers were each left two messages by the department and four callers could not be contacted because the type of phone they used did not allow return calls.

Rodriguez said two issues have been identified pertaining to the outage:

  • One was a network issued that has been resolved.
  • The other a software issue that affected some workstations of call-takers. While that issue is being addressed, some sheriff call-takers are using a backup dispatch center to make sure services are not interrupted.

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