Jauch serves as vice chairman of 911 study panelState Senator Bob Jauch, D- Poplar, was appointed to serve as vice chairman of the Legislative Council Committee on 911 Communications, one of six study committees established by the Joint Legislative Council for the upcoming year.
State Senator Bob Jauch, D- Poplar, was appointed to serve as vice chairman of the Legislative Council Committee on 911 Communications, one of six study committees established by the Joint Legislative Council for the upcoming year.
The committee is directed to review 911 public safety communications in Wisconsin and develop legislation as needed to strengthen and improve the system. The special committee will study the creation of a statewide entity to provide coordination and long-term planning as well as review funding and the costs associated with operating the system. They will also review training requirements for 911 dispatch personnel and consider the creation of minimum 911 service standards.
The committee will also review best practices from around the country that may be implemented in Wisconsin.
Early this year, Jauch wrote a letter recommending the creation of the study committee to study ways to improve the 911 system.
The “911 has been a great public safety success story over the past 30 years but inadequate funding and new technology requires upgrades to the system,” he said. “The current funding system that relies upon an outdated land line fee is unsustainable, especially at a time when communication centers must improve their systems to receive wireless, internet, text and other emerging new technology.”
The northern lawmaker said that counties are allowed to establish a maximum 911 surcharge of 40 cents per landline but actual costs are almost double that amount, resulting in higher property taxes.
In 2003, Jauch helped negotiate legislation to establish a temporary 75 cent cell phone surcharge to upgrade 911 systems to help dispatchers identify the location of cell phone users. The law also included incentives that consolidated numerous local and county dispatch services.
Jauch said that the sheriff’s association, heart association and numerous public safety groups had also requested the Legislative Council study.
“Ten years ago we realized that costly 911 upgrades were necessary to assist dispatchers who were unable to specifically identify the location of cell phone users. We now must thoughtfully review the demands on the system and come up with a modern day funding system to pay for these costly but necessary improvements. Whether a caller is sending a text or calling via a computer we must provide the dispatcher with the best equipment possible to identify the location and promptly provide emergency assistance,” he said.