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Muncie part of national 911 issue locating cellphone users

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) – Dispatchers in Muncie are among those nationally who often aren’t able to quickly pinpoint the location of many 911 calls from cellphones.

According to a recent investigation by USA Today, dispatchers often only see where the nearest cell tower is, if they get any information at all. A Muncie police official tells The Star Press that problems with locating 911 callers using cellphones has led officers to show up at wrong addresses.

Delaware County’s 911 system has mapping software, but dispatchers often instead use workarounds.

Dispatcher Andrea Serf says she has found it’s faster and more accurate to plug latitude and longitude coordinates from calls into Google Maps.

New rules from the Federal Communications Commission would require carriers to transmit location data in 40 percent of cellphone calls to 911 by 2017. It would be bumped up to 80 percent by 2021.