New 911 system will allow police better view of the emergency

Posted: Updated:
SOUTH RIVER -

The South River Police Department has launched a brand-new type of 911 emergency system that they say should help first responders react better to emergencies.

The system is known as “911 Eye.” When a person calls 911, the dispatcher is then able to send a link to their phone, which will allow the caller to use their smartphone’s camera to show dispatchers their surroundings.

It came in handy when dispatcher Adam DeHanes answered the call of a woman who had crashed her car and didn’t know where she was.

“I had her pan around with the camera to the areas she was in,” he says.

The system does not require the caller to have anything special installed on their phone.

Police officials say that this new system will also help with police transparency. There will be videos from police cruisers and police officer body cameras and now eyewitness video.

They say that it will also help to gather evidence. For instance in a domestic violence situation it's often a "he-said-she-said” situation.

"The female caller she'll say, ‘He's standing outside again. He's right outside my front door, send the police,’” says South River Police Lt. John McKenna. "We can send a 911 Eye link and we can actually capture that person on the front lawn by the front door or parked in their car, and now we have evidence of that crime."

For those concerned about privacy issues, police say that the only thing a person provides is their phone number. The link to the camera is a one-time use and police won’t have access to the phone after the call ends. Any video or photos can be saved by police as evidence for 30 days.

A company called Capita created the system.  South River is testing it out for free for the next 16 months. The system is widely used in England.

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