Additional funding enables Texas 911 system to upgrade
By Aman Batheja
The Texas Tribune
ROCKDALE, Texas — The largest cities in Texas handle their own 911 services. To bring that same service to hundreds of smaller rural communities, state funding is critical.
“We serve 224 of the 254 counties in Texas,” said Kelli Merriweather, executive director of the Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC). “Our 911 system covers one-third of the population and 80 percent of the land mass of Texas.”
CSEC oversees the state’s 911 system and its six poison control centers. In the 83rd legislative session, state lawmakers approved a 33 percent increase in the agency's two-year budget, from $110 million to $146 million. Most of the extra money will go toward upgrading 911 system equipment around the state, some of which will help dispatchers pinpoint the position of someone calling from a cell phone more accurately. The agency did not receive any money to upgrade 911 equipment during the 2011 session, Merriweather said.