The meeting is part of the Mid-America Regional Council or MARC, which is a group of government leaders throughout the metro.
Committee members discussed questions about adding the automated feature that would ask callers to select a number depending on what kind of help they need before being connected to the correct dispatcher.
Some of the questions include whether texts to 911 would be recognized by the system, if GPS location would still work, and if saying the number instead of pressing it could be recognized.
Members said they also don’t know how much the change will cost, if additional equipment will be needed, or if the change is feasible based on the system’s current capabilities.
“I mean, they could come back and say it’ll be a million dollars to do it, or they could come back and say, ‘it’ll be $20,000 to do it,’ MARC Users Committee Co-Chair Steve Hoskins said after Wednesday’s meeting. “We just don’t have that information to pass on yet.”
Hoskins is actually the Interoperability Systems Manager for KCPD. The idea of adding the prompt surfaced during a Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners meeting last month.
The option has been available for years, according to a conversation during the police board meeting.
The BOPC was presented with information that technology was available for Kansas City to make the change without impacting other suburbs that also use the regional 911 system.
However, on Wednesday, a MARC spokeswoman said that can’t be made currently without additional evaluation and action from Motorola, which makes the system.
“They don’t run the 911 system every day for a living ya know,” MARC 911 Technical Services Manager Hassan Al-Rubaie said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday. “I tell people all the time, ‘I don’t go to my doctor’s office and tell her how to prescribe medicine to me.’”
Maj. Scott Boden of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is the other Users Committee Co-Chair. He doesn’t want Kansas Citians thinking their 911 system won’t change. He just doesn’t recommend doing that in the next month.