Crime - Sacto 911

Placer County agencies to flip switch on new 911 system

In move that will increase their capacity to handle a large volume of calls during a major emergency, several Placer County law enforcement agencies on Thursday will become part of the same 911 network.

Within minutes after the Trailhead Fire broke out near Foresthill on the afternoon of June 28, the Placer County sheriff’s 911 dispatch center was flooded with calls. With four times the usual call volume, the system was inundated, extending answering times, sheriff’s officials said.

Beginning Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office, along with the Rocklin, Roseville, Auburn and Lincoln police departments will move to become part of a system that will allow the agencies to answer neighboring departments’ 911 calls during high-volume periods. The Lincoln Police Department will be the last to cut into the system next month, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

During a critical incident, when one agency is inundated with 911 calls, the calls would automatically transfer to nearby dispatch centers that are available. Placer County is the first in the state to use this technology, sheriff’s officials said. The costs are covered by the State Emergency Telephone Number Account, or SETNA, surcharge on all telephone bills.

The project was begun four years ago by the Placer County Regional 911 committee, and AT&T then partnered with the State 911 Office to make it a reality. This system takes agencies a step closer to the “text to 911” system, sheriff’s officials said.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy