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POLICE: Some Anchorage 911 calls re-routed to non-emergency lines

(KTUU)
Published: Jul. 13, 2016 at 10:59 AM AKDT
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Twice in recent weeks 911 callers have been placed on hold when their call was directed to a non-emergency line.

Both calls were related to medical emergencies according to APD. The most recent case occurred at the Golden Lion Best Western Hotel according to APD administrative Captain David Koch. He says when officers arrived they found the front desk clerk on hold with what he thought was 911.

"The clerk had the forethought to ask a citizens walking by would you call on your cell phone which of course put him into the Anchorage police 911," says Capt. Koch who explained the patient did receive the medical attention needed.

Another similar situation occurred at the Clarion Hotel according to APD. However the issue does not appear to be limited to hotels according to APD, the issue is actually related to "Voice over Internet Protocol" phone lines, which transmit phone calls via the internet.

Captain Koch says in these cases the 911 caller's VoIP phone was directed to a Canada dispatch line and then the dispatcher forwarded the call to the non-emergency line.

Anchorage Police Chief, Chris Tolley, Briefed the Anchorage Public safety committee on the issue at the July 6 meeting.

"This is apparently done to save 911 surcharges. So maybe this is something the assembly is going to have to take action on," said Tolley.

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