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SLO County Sheriff’s Office debuts 911 app aimed at improving emergency response

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers cite dropped calls as a challenge to sending the best emergency response. A new app aims to change that.

“We get a lot of 911 calls that disconnect,” said SLO County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher Nikki Sisley. ” They say ‘send help’ and they disconnect.”

The agency is hoping the Smart911 app will help in these cases.

“It’s all about getting the right response team, to the right location, with the right information,” explained spokesman Tony Cipolla. “I t allows an individual to put information online before an emergency, to use during an emergency.”

Sisley explained t he app lets users set up a profile where one can input ” blood type… driver’s license number, any additional phone numbers to contact,” medical background, and any other critical information. It even allows users to add details about a pet.

Downloading the app is voluntary, which means users can choose how much information they’re willing to share.

The Sheriff’s Office assures the information is safe and secure.

“T he database that they put their information into is non-searchable, and so that information is only displayed to the 911 dispatcher and only during a 911 call,” said Cipolla.

Cipolla added Smart911 also gives dispatchers a caller’s precise location.

“B efore, it would be a circumference of about 300 meters.”

The app will be useful to other local agencies.

“S ince we also dispatch for Arroyo Grande Police Department and Morro Bay Police Department, they too have access to this system,” Cipolla shared.

The Smart 911 system allows users to text message dispatchers, as well.

Other cities in SLO county are looking at the system to see if they want to use it, too.

In 2017, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office received 47,000 911 calls.

The app has already debuted in other parts of the country.

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