NATIONAL NEWS

Law enforcement officials in 4 states report temporary 911 outages

Apr 18, 2024, 6:08 AM | Updated: 8:02 am

Law enforcement agencies in Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota and Texas reported temporary outages to 911 services before saying hours later that services had been restored. It was not immediately clear what caused the outages or whether they were related.

Also unclear was whether any emergency situations were impacted. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which houses the National 911 Program, said in a statement that its Office of Emergency Medical Services “is monitoring this issue.” A spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional information. A message also was left Thursday with the Federal Communications Commission.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety said in statement posted on social media Wednesday night that it was aware of a 911 service interruption throughout the state. The agency noted that texting to 911 was working in most locations and people could still reach local law enforcement through non-emergency lines. Less than two hours later, the agency said service was restored to the state’s 911 system.

The same evening, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 911 Communications warned of an outage affecting 911 and non-emergency calls in a social media post. Calls from landlines were not working, but officials said they could see the numbers of those who called from cellphones.

“Dial on a mobile device, and we will be able to see your number and will call you back right away,” the department posted.

About two hours later, the department posted that service was restored, and everyone who called during the outage had been called back and provided assistance.

In Nebraska, the sheriff’s offices in several counties, including Dundy, Kearney, and Howard, warned Wednesday night that 911 services were down, but advised a few hours later that services had been restored.

Cut fiber lines and other problems have caused 911 outages in recent years in Nebraska. The issue was worrisome enough that the Nebraska Public Service Commission hosted a hearing on the topic in December.

The police department in Del Rio, Texas, a city of 35,000 residents along the U.S.-Mexico border, posted that “an outage with a major cellular carrier” was to blame. It didn’t say which carrier. Del Rio had the opposite problem of Las Vegas — 911 calls from cellphones didn’t work, so those needing help were urged to use a landline or another cell carrier.

The outages, ironically, occurred in the midst of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

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Law enforcement officials in 4 states report temporary 911 outages