GPS tracking with pinpoint accuracy now part of NC State Highway Patrol system

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — New technology is now aiding the state highway patrol in tracking 911 callers who have an emergency but can’t tell exactly where they are.

Not only that, but the new system also lets troopers use GPS maps to locate each other as well as the the 911 caller.

New 911 call technology will allow more precise cellphone location

When you call 9-1-1, dispatchers who answer use computer aided dispatch or CAD to send first responders to help—but it’s one-way technology.

For the state highway patrol, that 1970s-era tech is getting old.

First Sergeant Chris Knox told CBS 17 that the patrol’s old CAD program was soon to go offline as it was “going obsolete.” Knox further said it had gotten so bad, “we were making notes on whiteboards.”

Now, the SHP is looking at calls in real time with with accurate detail.

There’s new technology that allows GPS to track a caller’s location to with-in several feet or so and that’s being now being married to the new state highway patrol system.

The agency now has the ability to track the location of highway patrol units on a map—a map that 9-1-1 dispatchers and other troopers all can access simultaneously.

“Where every second matters, knowing exactly where you’re at can be the difference between a good or a bad outcome,” said Knox. “That GPS tracking is a big component of knowing where the person who’s calling us is at.”

The new system puts everyone on the same page.

The price of the system came to $11 million, paid for through a bill that was passed during the pandemic.

This was through the American Rescue Plan.’’ said Knox. “I think you often heard the phrase ‘COVID money’ and so, ultimately, all money is taxpayer money.”

The system will have benefits beyond just routine 9-1-1 calls.

Many of the capabilities of this system are really going to pay dividends when we have these big events,” said Knox. “As a state, we see the hurricanes, we see the floods, wildfires, whatever it might be.”

As technology improves, there will be new enhancements available, and Knox said the system is designed to allow that new tech to integrate into the current system.

That way it will remain useful many years down the road.

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