New York City on Track to Enable 911 Texting by June

Information Technology Commissioner Jessica Tisch has said the city is on track to enable texting to 911 by June, with a goal of opening up 911 services to deaf and other New Yorkers unable to make voice calls.

by Shant Sharigian, New York Daily News / March 4, 2020

(TNS) — Better late than never?

New York City is on track to enable texting to 911 by June, Information Technology Commissioner Jessica Tisch said Tuesday.

That’s more than two years after the program was originally expected to launch.

“It is looking like ‘Text to 911’ will go live by June,” Tisch told the City Council’s Committee on Technology.

She said the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, or DoITT, has been testing the new system by “flooding” it with messages.

The goal is to open up 911 services to deaf and other New Yorkers unable to make voice calls. More than 200,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing people are estimated to live and work in the city, and are unable to access 911.

Tisch didn’t go into reasons for the delay, but disputes between DoITT officials and the NYPD reportedly bogged down the rollout.

Technology Committee Chairman Robert Holden (D-Queens) voiced skepticism of the June target date in a snappy exchange with Tisch.

“Some people are saying they’ll believe it when they see it,” the councilman said.

"Fair," Tisch replied.

"They’ve been burned a few times," Holden continued.

“Touché,” the commissioner rejoined.

"I like that:" Holden said.

Tisch described the texting system as a “bridge” between the current analog 911 system and a forthcoming upgrade called “NextGen 911.”

That system will allow New Yorkers to submit videos, photos and text messages in addition to making voice calls. Tisch said it’s on track to be “fully implemented” in 2024 — after the end of the de Blasio administration.

“We will deliver these systems on time and on budget,” she promised.

“That’s encouraging and I appreciate that,” Holden said.

©2020 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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