Area police departments now using E-911, mental health registry

Area police departments are working to improve the way they respond to 9-1-1 calls.

In Prince William, the county just deployed its new E-911 technology. The system, which is being adopted by public safety agencies across the U.S., better works to pinpoint the location of the 9-1-1 caller to better help first responders find the site of the emergency.

Because legacy 9-1-1 systems have limited data and internet protocol capability, it is difficult to get more data across these networks, including being routed to the correct 9-1-1 center and having better location information provided by the cellular wireless carriers.

Upgrading the 9-1-1 infrastructure to the Next Generation 9-1-1 ESInet, positions Prince William County to begin leveraging modern technology for processing emergency calls, to include better location information from callers and the ability to transfer misrouted calls faster that come into Public Safety Communications and are actually intended for one of the four municipalities that surround the county.

Eventually, the county will be able to receive photos from callers reporting an incident. Once those photos are sent, they will become the county’s property and will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act Law. 

“We are at least a year away from receiving photos from callers, as our call processing equipment cannot currently accept photos yet, said Eddie Reyes, who manages the county’s public safety communications office. “But once that time arrives, yes, we will store them for evidentiary purposes for up to 180 days, per our retention policy. 

Anyone who wants to obtain a photo submitted by a 9-1-1 caller will be able to submit a records order to the county’s Department of Public Safety Communications , as it will be the custodian of those images and subject to compliance with all FOIA laws and regulations.

In Manassas, that city is stepping up and changing how it responds to calls involving those suffering from a mental health disorder. The city police department is participating with Virginia’s Marcus Alert System through the RapidSOS Emergency Response Data Platform.

“Ensuring that we are providing efficient services to citizens remains a top priority for our agency. This new technology will help officers and dispatchers get citizens the help they need quickly to continue saving lives”, explains Manassas City Police Chief, Doug Keen.

The Marcus-David Peters Act, which was signed into law in 2020, requires Virginia localities to establish a voluntary database for citizens to register. The information will be made available to 9-1-1 dispatchers to provide mental health information and emergency contact information for use in emergency situations.

Once someone is registered, police officers can access information from the registry when they’re called to a scene. Residents who wish to put their name on the list should do so at, said Keen.

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Calling all serious runners, occasional joggers, and weekend walkers of all levels! Participate in the 31st Annual Van Metre 5K Run supporting Children’s National Hospital–the event that goes a long way!

Date: Saturday, April 29, 2023
Time: 8:30AM
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