Proposed Phone Service Frees Up 9-1-1

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The first 3-1-1 system was started in Baltimore MD, 12 years ago. City officials report there has been a dramatic drop in non-emergency 9-1-1 calls. Cleveland Operations Chief Darnell Brown said that's an appealing statistic.

BROWN: Imagine that these calls are now taken out of the 911 loop, go to 311. What does that do in terms of cutting out delay times for people taking up time on phones when we could be answering real calls that deal with real life threatening concerns that require 911 resources?

Brown and City Finance Director Sharon Dumas were grilled for several hours yesterday by City Council members who wanted to know the details of how the one-and-a-half-million-dollar system would work. Dumas said one goal of the program is to be the central source for information and complaints from city residents. 20 staff members will field everything from neighborhood pool closing times to reports of potholes and noisy neighbors. The service is expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2009.

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