Department of State

Oversight of the Enhanced Wireless 911 Program (Follow-Up Report)

Each county has an emergency call center to receive 911 calls made in that county. If the center is not equipped with an enhanced wireless 911 system, it cannot automatically identify the location of callers using cellular phones, making it difficult to send help to such callers when they are unable to identify their location. To encourage the counties to develop enhanced wireless 911 systems, State legislation in 2002 made certain funding available to the counties and created the New York State 911 Board within the Department of State to facilitate and oversee the implementation of such systems.

In audit 2005-S-68, we examined the progress made by the counties in developing enhanced wireless 911 systems and found that 15 of the 58 counties had yet to complete their systems and 10 of these 15 counties had made little or no progress on their systems. We found that the Department of State did not actively track the counties’ implementation efforts, and consequently, was in no position to provide assistance to counties not making adequate progress. We recommended that the Department actively oversee the remaining implementation efforts and work closely with any counties that were encountering difficulties. We also identified weaknesses in the practices used by the Department and the New York State 911 Board in awarding State funding to the counties, and recommended certain changes in the State’s funding practices. When we followed up on these matters, we found that all 58 counties had completed their systems and Department officials had implemented some, but not all, of our audit recommendations.

For a complete copy of Report 2008-F-19 click here.