Illinois legislators pass bill to consolidate 911 services - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois legislators pass bill to consolidate 911 services

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - An Illinois bill overhauling the state's 911 emergency response system has been approved in the state house and senate and sent to Governor Bruce Rauner's office to be signed.

The changes would shorten emergency response times and cover more counties, according to Rep. John Bradley of Marion, Ill. who spearheaded the bill.

The bill was also spearheaded by Rep. Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg, Ill.

The overhaul would add an 87 cent surcharge to mobile phone bills to pay for the cost of consolidating local 911 services and would help establish 911 centers in nine Illinois counties without 911.

The Illinois Commerce Commission and the Illinois State Police would manage the system.

“Major areas of southern Illinois do not have 911 services, putting the lives of residents at risk in case of an emergency,” said Phelps. “Funding for 911 services are tied to an outdated model based on land-line service, meaning funding has declined as more people move to cell phones.”

Currently three southern Illinois counties including Pope, Hardin and Hamilton have no 911 services. For instance, when a cell phone user calls into Pope County, according to Sheriff Jerry Suits, callers reach neighboring counties such as Saline. The receiving county dispatch would then have to transfer the call to Pope County.

Sheriff Suits said that the ability for calls to go directly into Pope County would greatly improve emergency response times.

“This legislation is a major step forward for the residents of southern Illinois,” said Bradley. “With the implementation of this plan, residents in our communities will have the same level of emergency response services currently afforded to other areas of the state.”

The bill has the support of the American Association of Retired Persons, the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials and the Illinois Sheriffs Association.

“Representatives Phelps and Bradley understand that passing this measure is a matter of public safety and making sure that local residents do not lose critical emergency services through 911,” said Greg Sullivan of the Illinois Sheriffs Association. “Their support helps to keep 911 centers solvent while taking steps to help make sure 911 systems are compatible with 21st century technology.”

Senate Bill 96 has been sent to the Governor to be signed.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.
Powered by Frankly