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New Tech Planned for South Dakota 911 System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, January 5, 2015

CONTACT: Shawnie Rechtenbaugh, State 911 coordinator, State 911 Coordination, (605) 773-3178


New Tech Planned for South Dakota 911 System


PIERRE, S.D. – New technology will enhance emergency communications in South Dakota when Next Generation 911 is deployed.


TeleCommunications Systems, Inc., (TCS) of Annapolis, Md., will provide and operate the NG911 system for the next five years under the direction and guidance of the South Dakota 911 Coordination Board.


“Cellphones and other wireless communication devices have made it necessary to implement Next Generation 911 technology,” Shawnie Rechtenbaugh, Department of Public Safety State 911 coordinator said. “The NG911 system will take us into the 21st century and allow 911 capabilities to evolve with the constantly changing communications technologies.”


Rechtenbaugh explained that the transition will be seamless and the public won’t see any disruption in 911 services. The first indication of NG911 services being available to the public will occur when text to 911 becomes available to the public later in the project. The system will eventually allow citizens to share pictures and video with 911 centers during a 911 call.


She said the biggest upgrade will be to the 911 infrastructure. TCS will sub-contract with Sioux Falls, S.D., based SDN Communications, to provide a majority of the new 911 network in South Dakota. “The new network will interconnect 911 centers in ways that greatly improve interoperability and the routing of emergency calls,” Rechtenbaugh said. “The new 911 system will be built with backups, making 911 services less prone to outages and failures.”


These backups are in place to allow for automatic emergency call re-routing in the case of a service interruption or outage due to severe weather or a disaster.


The 911 Board has also signed a contract with GeoComm, Inc., of St. Cloud, Minn., to build the foundational Geographic Information System (GIS) data for the new NG911. The GIS data will replace the current 911 addressing system and allow for geo-spatial routing of 911 calls.


“The GeoComm contract will produce the state-wide GIS layers needed to support spatial call routing within the South Dakota Next Generation 911 system,” Ted Rufledt, Jr., chairperson of the S.D. 911 Coordination Board said. “The GIS project is now underway.”


Funding for the Next Generation 911 project comes from the 2012 South Dakota Legislature passage of Senate Bill 174, which provided an additional $0.50 per telephone line, per month in surcharge fees to telecommunications accounts.