NEWTON, N.J. (PIX11) — Since almost everyone has a smartphone in their hand these days, it makes sense that 911 gets smarter, too.
Dispatchers for some departments in Sussex County are getting ready to take on Next Generation 911 technology.
While the tech has been rolled out in states across the country and in parts of New Jersey, it’s just making its way to small to midsize departments, such as Newton Police.
Earlier this week, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-5th District) announced Newton, Andover, Sparta and Hardyston will receive a share of $1.3 million in federal funding for the new tech. According to Lumen, the company that won a seven-year contract with New Jersey, Next Generation 911 enhances emergency calls by factoring in video and text communication between the caller and the operator. It’s information that can all be relayed to fire, EMS or police.
“Let’s say in a domestic situation, somebody can’t call, or a home invasion, somebody can’t speak on the phone,” said Newton Police Chief Steven VanNieuwland, “so that way they can seek refuge and just send a text message or video.”
As Newton Police awaits the funding before implementing the technology, leaders say officers and dispatchers alike are very much looking forward to using it, saying it’s all about saving more lives.
“Next Gen 911 is across the United States, it’s coming to New Jersey,” said VanNieuwland. “It’s digital, it’s new, we’re getting away from the old analog phone lines, we’re going with digital. It’s going to be much quicker, faster response times, so it should be good across the board.”