New Yorkers may just find themselves a little bit safer in the future. With Next Generation 911 (NG911) conferences, and a new bill to fight for IDs and licenses for all New York residents, New York lawmakers and 911 coordinators are focusing on public safety. 911 texting and immigrants driving without licenses were just a couple of the issues brought up for discussion recently. However, only time will tell if New Yorkers will be able to use these new safety measures.
New York 911 coordinators meet twice a year to discuss how the emergency line can be improved. This year, they met in Oswego County to learn something new. Of course, funding is the major issue. Funding has been the major roadblock that stands between 911 centers and NG911 implementation. While some funding is still coming in for the centers to advance to the latest and greatest technologies, some of it is still not reaching the centers that need it most.
According to Oswego County Today, 911 centers in New York still cannot accept 911 text messages. With changes shifting in technology every day, New York 911 centers recognize how important making the NG911 switch is. During the NG911 conferences, 911 coordinators urged people to talk to the state and local legislators about lack of funding, and the significance of the service. Senator Patty Ritchie is also trying to bring awareness to the issue by co-sponsoring a bill to change the funding mechanism itself.
However, there’s another proposed bill that could change safety for New Yorkers as well. According to NY Daily News, Albany should be passing a law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. While the same law has been discussed on a state level, the bill did not pass.
IDs for undocumented immigrants has remained controversial amongst New York politicians. However, New York Daily News writer, Bill De Blasio points out that undocumented immigrants who are not given the opportunity to obtain a driver’s license are likely to drive anyway. Because they are not given the proper driver’s training, immigrants could be putting themselves and other drivers’ lives in danger while on the road.
Other cities are recognizing the importance of IDs and NG911 for all of their citizens. Oakland, Calif. is just one example of a city willing to provide IDs for all. However, these issues will take time to resolve. As each state and city decides what is best for their citizens, perhaps NG911 and IDs for all can become a part of their plan.