Cost Constraints Threaten Florida Emergency Bill

Florida is attempting to fix its flawed 911 training system after a number of errors, including a North Port 911 operator's recent failure to send help to an accident victim. But the proposed law has its opponents.

In an article on the Herald Tribune website, Zac Anderson says the bill met with opposition this week when committees in both the Florida House and Senate voted to move it on for further reviews.

“But some lawmakers questioned the program's cost when many state agencies are being cut,” Anderson writes. “And a group that coordinates 911 technology in Florida opposes the measure because it could divert money for buying new equipment to deal with emerging communications, such as text messaging.”

Senator Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, said the bill asks cities and counties to spend money they don’t have, at a time when everyone has been asked to cut back.

But Nathan Lee, “whose wife, Denise, was kidnapped, raped and murdered in North Port in 2008,” Anderson writes, “has championed 911 reform because of a botched emergency call that might have saved her. He fumed over the questions about funding.”

Florida has also had cases of call takers sending help to the wrong address, sleeping on the job or failing to send help at all. The state’s roughly 300 call centers are virtually unregulated, Anderson writes.

To read the full Herald Tribune article, please click here: