Atlanta’s 911 center suffers more power outages as executives work on solutions | News

ATLANTA (CBS46) — Atlanta leaders are speaking out after the city’s 911 center again experienced electrical problems causing radios to temporarily black out and dispatch computer systems to go offline Thursday night.

“This is concerning even though it was a short power outage. The UPS backup power didn’t pick up and didn’t start. Honestly, I’ve lost count of the number of times this has happened,” said Dustin Hillis, Atlanta City Council member and chair of the Public Safety Committee.

The union that represents the majority of 911 dispatchers says it’s not surprised this happened and has been warning city leaders for years about the issues plaguing the center and putting lives at risk.

“We made suggestions, we presented this, I talk until I’m blue in the face. Something has to be done to fix these problems like yesterday,” said Gina Pagnotta Murphy, president of the City Employees Professional Association union. [PACE].

Hillis said a major issue is the facility where the 911 center is located, which the city does not own. And says there’s at least 10 years left on the lease.

“They don’t provide reliable electricity, which is supposedly caused by water leaks, so there are water issues here. We need to have further discussions with the legal department.

He said he will speak with the city attorney to find out if they are able to terminate their lease with the building.

“The city attorney’s office or whoever can work to get out of this lease or get the property owner to be more responsive.”

When the city approved the new police and fire training center, a 911 emergency center will also be approved and will be housed in the same location.

“Do we need to convert this to the primary install if we continue to have these issues in our current install and then look for another fallback,” Hillis said.

He also said that if the city was unhappy with the building’s response to the issue, it couldn’t break the lease. They could consider moving the center out of the building to a city-owned facility to help find an immediate solution. And make sure they don’t pay to rent the current building.

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