911 Cell Calls

Smith County Communications District is Phase 1 Compliant. For cell phone users, that means when you call, the dispatcher sees your number, but has no idea where you're calling from.

Bill Morales is the director of the Smith County Communications Center.

"In the majority of wireless 911 calls, the callers are able to give us the information that's needed to get us out there," Morales said.

Smith County says they are working on becoming Phase 2 compliant, Which would enable them to identify a cell phone location, but it could take six months to a year before that happens. Technology upgrades have already been made in the City of Tyler, but they're still needed in Lindale and Overton before phase two can be deployed.

Lori Long used her cell phone to call 9-1-1 when her estranged husband shot her. It took police 17 minutes to find her, and when they did, she was dead.

It's been three years since then, and Gregg County still doesn't have the capability to locate cell calls.

Sally Rees is the manager of public safety and communications in Gregg County.

"We are currently in the process of installing new 9-11 equipment that will make us Phase 2 compatible. Our equipment should be in by the end of the summer.  Then we will be able to request that the cellular providers,  provide that service to our customer," Rees said.

Until then, the 9-1-1 centers says if you rely on your cell phone, as your only phone, you need to know where you are at all times. That way you can get help, when you need it most.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com