E911 system to allow U community direct police contact in emergencies

Cell phones on campus will connect directly to University police instead of city police.

Koran Addo

A new program that will allow the University Police Department to respond to emergency calls more quickly should be running by summer, at the latest, police officials said.

The system, known as E911, will allow emergency phone calls made from cellular phones on campus to be routed directly to the department.

Currently, emergency calls from cellular phones on campus go to the Minneapolis Police Department or the Minnesota State Patrol before they are redirected to campus police.

Diana Borash, director of the Public Safety Foundation of America, presented the University a check for $150,886 to fund the system.

Borash congratulated the University for winning the grant for what she called life-saving technology.

“No one ever thinks about 911 until they need it,” she said. “Most of the time it is one of the most important calls (people) will make.”

Borash said the University was awarded the grant because of its need for the system and for having the resources to continue supporting the technology once it is in place.

The grant is available to any community with the resources to put the system in place, but the University is the first college campus to do so, Borash said.

Kathleen O’Brien, vice president for University Services, said E911 is one example of the University’s commitment to emergency preparedness.

University police Deputy Chief Steve Johnson said the University community will be better off once E911 is in place.

The E911 technology is in what is called its phase two stage. Phase two allows the location of a cellular caller to be pinpointed to an address, reducing response time.

Borash said plans are in the works to make E911 capable of pinpointing a caller to an exact floor and room number of a building.