VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is introducing a new way to call 911.
Deputies are set to deploy a system that allows video 911 calls to be made during emergencies starting May 16.
[TRENDING: As Florida feuds with Disney, GOP voters, donors live inside elite Disney World community | Video showing 1-year-old being slapped leads to woman’s arrest, Sanford police say | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
“Every 911 call comes with unknowns, and so much is riding on that initial information gathered over the phone,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in a news release announcing the new program. “If we can get a video call up, that gives us a chance to send better info and even a live view to our first responders in those crucial moments before they get to the scene.”
According to the sheriff’s office, a platform called Carbyne will let dispatchers share a caller’s video with the responding law enforcement officials in real-time and share up-to-date information before they arrive.
In order to participate in a video call with dispatchers, the person calling must give their permission. Once consent is received, “the dispatcher will send a link to the caller’s cell phone via text message, which will activate a video call once the caller presses the link,” according to a news release.
The sheriff’s office said while the video call will be recorded, the system does not provide dispatchers with any access to the contents or settings of the caller’s phone and will only be used on 911 calls that fit certain criteria.
The video call will be similar to Skype or FaceTime, but the dispatcher will not be visible to the caller, sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies urge 911 callers to ensure they do not place themselves or others in danger with the introduction of this new function.
After weeks of training on the new platform, telecommunicators will soft launch it with a limited number of calls next month.