(Bannock County Press Release, October 25, 2023)
People in need of emergency services can now send live video to all dispatch centers in Bannock County.
On Monday, Oct. 23, the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office implemented new technology to enhance 911 services and allow callers to send live video and audio to dispatchers to help improve emergency responses.
Adam McKinney, Bannock County’s 911/Emergency Communications Director, describes the new feature, called “Prepared 911,” as the next step in enhancing the area’s public safety communications.
“The idea is, if someone contacts 911, our dispatchers can send them a link to turn on their audio or camera. While first responders are on their way, the phone can collect that data, which could be useful for emergency responders or prosecutors,” McKinney said.
This summer, Prepared 911 was also added to Pocatello and Chubbuck’s dispatch centers.
“Prepared Live has shown to be a huge asset to our 911 operator team. The City has been using this tool for a few months now, and it has been useful for many of our callers and operators alike. This tool can help us save lives,” said AJ Lowther, City of Pocatello Dispatch Supervisor.
Sending video or audio to 911 is entirely voluntary. It requires the person calling to open a link and agree to connect their camera to the link. The video and audio can be recorded, or it can also be sent to the responding officer so they can see the emergency situation before arriving on the scene.
“We see all kinds of benefits to this technology. Live video can help responders and victims in domestic violence situations, car accidents, and even in rural areas when we’re struggling to locate someone. This really is a huge step into the future of emergency response,” said Captain Scott Ames, who manages Bannock County’s dispatch center.
At its basic level, the program is free of charge to all dispatch centers and only costs for optional premium features.