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Dialing 911: In the future

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -

New legislation, introduced just this week in Michigan, could change the way 911 calls are made, completely.

State Senator Rick Jones says it’s time for Michigan’s dispatch centers to get with the times.

The 911 system at the Berrien County Communication Center was built a long time ago, when the majority of people had landlines.

But now, 80 percent of callers are using their cellphones to call dispatchers at the center, which means an upgrade is due.

A new digital 911 network called “Next Generation 911” is already up and running in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula but there are none in the southwest region.

Wednesday, Senator Jones introduced legislation that would increase the state 911 from 19 cents to a 25 cents.

The funds would be earmarked for the new system.

“Michigan state police have a recording of a woman who drove into a lake and water was coming into her car, she called 911 and begged for help, unfortunately no one was able to get to her in time and the recording was a horrible ending, she dies. We need to have 911 come into the next century for a few pennies more a month,” said Senator Jones.

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