Cell Calls Routed to Dispatch

AT&T cellphone users who dial 911 in Washington will now be directly routed to the city of Washington public safety answering point, according to Lisa Hotsenpiller, communications director.

Prior to last week, when people dialed 911 from their cellphones, calls would be routed to Franklin County and be transferred accordingly. Now, as long as the call bounces off one of the local towers, it will go to the Washington communications department.

Towers are located at Clay Street, MacArthur Park and behind Orscheln Farm & Home in Washington Crossing.

“This is something we’ve been trying to work on with Franklin County for a while,” Hotsenpiller told the city council during its administrations/operations committee meeting Monday night.

In one week, the city has seen a 42 percent increase in 911 calls from cellphones to the center.

“Unfortunately, 18 percent of those are (accidental) pocket dials,” Hotsenpiller said.

Phones that are “phase two capable” also give XY coordinates, so they can be tracked and followed up with.

Most newer phones are phase two capable, Hotsenpiller said.

AT&T is the pilot company for the new routing service.