911 call outage: Sedgwick County Commissioners look into what happened on July 25

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WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – A two-hour 911 outage in Sedgwick County this past weekend is raising questions about how the current system works.

Elora Forshee, the county director for emergency communications, said in Tuesday’s county commission meeting that while they knew on Sunday AT&T would do testing on the system, they were told everything would remain working. However, being left in the dark for hours with calls not going through was unacceptable, Forshee said during the meeting.

“Those are the redundancies that I am pushing back on the coordinating council to say, ‘hey, this is not working as promised, you need to evaluate this because we really should not get to a point where the redundancy is pulled at multiple layers where you get to the point to the backup or to another county,'” Forshee said.

The 911 Coordinating Council is a state council made up of 911 directors, lawmakers, and law enforcement. The council is in charge of many 911 departments in the state, including Sedgwick County. It partners with AT&T to streamline operations.

However, the ongoing issues have several county commissioners asking why we need the council.

“Anytime you can cut out a middle man and go right to the source, you get better service that way,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse. “But going with the coordinating council, we were able to get more services more bang for your buck, if you will.”

“We were pretty proud of enhanced 911 coming on because we thought we had all of this redundancy, but I learned today that we didn’t have the redundancy that was in my mind anyway,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis.

Both commissioners said the next step is better communication between the coordinating council and the county. Commissioner Dennis said he is willing to reach out to the council to push for change.

As of now, when AT&T is doing maintenance, the county’s backup line will be on to make sure calls get answered.

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