BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — The technology for emergency calls is expanding. Boulder announced its 911 dispatchers can now receive live video, bringing them among the first in the state to have the capability.
People in Boulder can already text 911 in an emergency. Now, dispatchers will be able to text a link to the caller’s phone to see and hear a live feed of what’s happening.
It’s through a program called Prepared 911.
“Prepared 911 takes out some of the guesswork in what’s happening,” Brad Riggin, manager of the Police and Fire Communications Center, said in a statement. “Callers giving dispatchers the ability to actually see what they’re seeing in real time will help us better describe suspects, locations and what’s going on as police, fire and EMS (emergency medical services) are actively responding to the scene.”
Boulder said that Larimer County also has the technology.
Prepared 911 said that as of Tuesday, the company had partnered with more than 10% of 911 call centers in the U.S. It also listed Denver 911 as a partner.
Dispatchers can access phone camera
The caller will have to open the link and approve giving dispatchers permission to access the camera. But dispatchers will not just receive the video stream. They will also have some control over the caller’s phone while they’re connected.
“Though dispatch will be able to switch between the front and back facing cameras as well as turn the screen dark so no one can see it’s recording, they will not have the ability to see or do anything else on a person’s phone,” Boulder explained in a news release.
Dispatchers will be able to grab screenshots of the video and save them in their call notes. Boulder said the videos are saved to Prepared 911’s cloud.
Video is not the only new capability for Boulder’s 911 dispatchers. The program also allows dispatchers to send a location request to someone’s phone, helping them pinpoint a caller who may not know — or can’t say — exactly where they are.