BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — The voice on the other side of the line in an emergency now has a face if you happen to be calling 911 in Boulder.
“We’ll be able to livestream with callers, so we can actually see what you’re seeing,” Sara Humble said.
Humble, an emergency operator in Boulder, said a new livestream service is being provided by police and fire.
“If you’re having a medical emergency,” Humble said, “I can see what’s going on and we can give you better instructions on how to give emergency care until the responders get there or get yourself to a safe place.”
Here’s how it works: You call 911, and an operator can offer to text you a link. Upon clicking the link, a 911 dispatcher has access to the cameras on your phone, both front and back.
You have control of your phone, but an operator may take screenshots from your camera.
“So we can send those photos out to people who are out there looking a dangerous person or looking for a dangerous situation,” Humble said.
If you don’t know where you’re calling from, there’s a feature for that.
“We can send a link out to them, if they accept it, (it) will give us back their location,” Humble said.
Like any 911 phone call or text message thread, videos are archived and can be used in any future court case.
“It can be applicable both ways and help people out and give them something to back up what’s happened to them,” Humble said.
Boulder police said some videos aren’t retained in their archive, depending on the urgency of the situation.
“If it’s something that ends up being not a crime,” Humble said, “a misunderstanding or a medical situation, something like that, the retention rate would be much lower because we wouldn’t necessarily need to hang on to it as long.”
It’s a service provided by a company called “RapidSOS,” a tech company that worked with other agencies providing emergency response technology.
“It’s never going to be anything that you don’t control,” Humble said. “You keep all of the control during the call.”
Think of this service as a free app version of something you use on your phone already.
Boulder police said the department could upgrade to a paid version but what they’re using now is good enough for their needs.