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Oklahoma Legislature

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For Immediate Release: April 16, 2009

LEGISLATURE ADDRESSES 911 CRISIS

House and Senate leaders announced the formation of a “911 Task Force” today, which will study possible changes needed to Oklahoma’s emergency communication system as technology continuously evolves.

The Senate members of the task force will be Sens. Cliff Aldridge, R-Midwest City, Roger Ballenger, D-Okmulgee, Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, Cliff Branan, R-Oklahoma City and Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward. From the House, Reps. Jeff Hickman, R-Dacoma, Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City, Scott Martin, R-Norman, Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville and Rep. Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo will serve on the task force.

Experts have said that new technology has forced the need to upgrade the state’s emergency 911 system. Rural areas especially need to be brought up to standard, as many communities are currently unable to provide any type of 911 services.

“Oklahoma’s emergency 911 systems are a crucial element in our state’s public safety,” said President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “We need a viable system that is going to be adequate for protecting our generations to come.”

The demand for landline phone services—the original source for 911 funding—is now rapidly declining. Expensive system upgrades are required to update and adapt these 911 systems to newer technologies. As a result, the “911 Task Force” was created to study the funding and delivery of 911 services.

“The functionality of our state’s emergency communication system is critical to ensuring public safety,” said House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa. “As technology evolves, we must make sure our systems are updated in a timely way to allow communication to continue uninterrupted in what is often a dire time of need.”

For more information contact:
Senate Pro Tem Coffee's Office: 405-521-5636
House Speaker Chris Benge's Office: 405-962-7679

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