- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - The Bethel Police Department is expecting its newly upgraded 911 system to bolster officers’ response to emergency calls.

The new system allows dispatchers to see where a 911 call has been placed. The upgrade helps officers know where to respond to an emergency even in the event of a dropped call, KYUK-AM reported (https://bit.ly/29lTi3m).

“If somebody calls and (the call) drops before we can answer it, if they call and it drops right as we’re answering it, it automatically gives us that information,” said police dispatch supervisor Natalie Hayes.

The change only applies to landline calls, but Hayes said dispatchers are still able to identify cellphone callers by their numbers.

The police department receives at least 100 calls a day. The upgrade is expected to affect only about a quarter of dispatch calls, but Hayes said the new system will still have a significant impact.

“There’s nothing worse than feeling like you answered a call and you might have heard something, and you can’t call them back because their number was blocked,” Hayes said. “So now we have that peace of mind that we can call back and see what’s going on or at least have their location.”

Bethel previously used the upgraded dispatch technology, but Hayes said the system stopped working a year ago and a recent grant helped replace it.

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Information from: KYUK-AM, https://www.kyuk.org

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