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Ruling on cellular 911 calls could be long time in coming

Nov. 3, 2011

It could be a long time before Muskego gets a ruling from the Federal Communications Commission on its complaint that the city is not being allowed to answer 911 emergency calls from cell phones directly, John Wisniewski, director of information services, reported to the Public Safety Committee last night.

The cell calls are being picked up by the Waukesha County Communications center, but there are problems with that, police said. There is an average 72-second delay in getting the call over to Muskego, and then the caller has to repeat the same information again. The calls could be dropped, and the person with an emergency would have to call again.

Muskego police have upgraded their equipment and training so that they have the capability to field cellular 911 calls, but WCC officials won't permit wireless providers to switch the calls directly to Muskego.

Negotiations between the city and WCC have been fruitless, Muskego Police Chief Paul Geiszler said. That's why the city filed a complaint with the FCC about a month ago.

Although city officials have evidence that the FCC is working on the case, Wisniewski reported last night that he was told a ruling would be a long time in coming.

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