info needed on 911 emergency call systems [Telecom]

(uncertain this is the right forum for this. . .)

I'm hoping to contact a few 911 emergency operators to learn the steps that occur when a call is received. In particular, how does an incoming cellphone call reporting an emergency (such as a car wreck) lead to a police officer being dispatched?

I'm including such an operator in a novel I'm researching, and want to know what the facility looks like, who says what to whom, how the closest officer is located, what sort of information is finally sent to the officer, how much of the process is automatic, how much decision-making is required, etc.


(I'm actually a psychologist; writing is an amateur endeavor. . .)

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I'm somewhat familiar with the process. You might have better luck identifying a good source through NENA (

You have the PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) in the USA that houses call takers and dispatchers. At best a cell phone will give a GPS coordinate or perhaps just a general region (southwest of a given cell tower). Everything from that point on may have some computer assistance, ubt it is mostly the caller talking to the call taker.

Good luck,


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Depending on where you live, this could be an easy quest. Find out the non-emergency phone number of you local 911 emergency center. Google should be able to help you. Call over and explain your project. You may find that the person who answers the phone is willing to help, either directly or by suggesting another person in the organization who can.

Good Luck,


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It used to be that both government and the private sector were proud of new technology upgrades. In the old days they would publish color brochures on glossy paper to tout their accomplishment and the benefits it would bring to the citizens or customers. Inquiries from interested parties would be welcome and perhaps a facility tour provided.

For whatever reasons, that is no longer the case. These days new facilities are kept secret and hidden away under strict security. Inquiries are looked upon with suspicion rather than welcomed.

I'm not sure what has changed to create this paranoia, but _perhaps_ it is: (1) fear of terrorism, letting terrorists know of a desirable target and how the system works which might expose vulnerabilities they could exploit, (2) fear of competitors, (3) fear of activist citizen troublemakers, (4) fear of lawsuits, (5) fear of exposure of problems in the facility they want to keep secret, (6) cost of providing staff to respond to such inquiries.

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