Charlotte County 911 Outage

At 0542 hours on the morning of January the 8th, Charlotte County E911 experienced a 911 outage that affected both Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Punta Gorda Police Departments 911 centers ability to receive and answer 911 calls. When notified of the situation, all 911 calls were immediately re-routed to the Lee County 911 Center. 911 calls were returned to Charlotte Co with a one button transfer and all calls were dispatched immediately.  Charlotte County 911 was returned to a normal state at 1047 hours. There were no reports of delays or missed calls during this time period. Charlotte County and Lee Counties have an agreement in place since 2014 for emergency situations such as these. In any type of 911 network whether it be a traditional or IP, failures can happen. Charlotte County has taken measures to insure that calls do not go unanswered in the event of network or equipment failure.

In the case on Jan the 8th, the 911 disruption was a result of a circuit failure that occurred off site. Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Punta Gorda Police Department had an upgrade of on site 911 equipment in May of 2016 and there were no issues with this equipment during the failure.  Charlotte County E911 is working with the 911 service provider, West Safety Services, to avert such failures in the future.

Laurie Anderson

E911 Coordinator




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Leadership … What does it take to become a leader?

Some say effective leadership is a learned skill, while others claim leadership to be inherited. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Regardless of the view point, there is no doubt that the following two individuals are proven leaders in their field and have been striving to perfect those skills. Nancy Morris of the Punta Gorda Police Department Communications Division and Melanie Bailey of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Communications Division have recently attended reputable leadership courses.

In September of 2014 Communications Supervisor Nancy Morris graduated from the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute’s (FCJEI) Florida Leadership Academy. The Florida Leadership Academy prepares first-line supervisors in criminal justice organizations to exemplify the character and integrity expected of criminal justice professionals. The program also examines the various components necessary to be an effective leader. Nancy was among 33 other law enforcement professionals to graduate from the Academy, which was held at Broward College’s Institute of Public Safety in Davie, Florida.

In August of 2014 Communications Administrator, Melanie Bailey graduated from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Leadership in Police Organization Course. The IACP-LPO program is based on a behavioral science approach to leading people, groups, change and organizations.  Students are taught leader strategies for use in dealing with practical work place challenges. The course teaches participants the behavioral science theories to better understand how to lead individuals, groups, change, and organizations. Participants are challenged to use the theories and strategies taught to increase the motivation, satisfaction and performance within their organization and to support organizational change.

Congratulations to the both of them for their accomplishments!

Nancy Morris, Punta Gorda Police Department Communications

Nancy Morris, Punta Gorda Police Department Communications

Melanie Bailey, Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Communications Administrator

Melanie Bailey, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Communications Administrator


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Text to 9-1-1 Plans for Charlotte County

bouncebackSome of you have already heard the buzz regarding text to 9-1-1 becoming available in portions of the United States and most recently in Collier County, FL.  The overall intent of this post is to provide you with a basic understanding of how this is being implemented and provide you with information regarding the plan for Charlotte County.

The four major cellular carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) had made a commitment to the FCC to provide text to 9-1-1 services.  Text to 9-1-1 services could be provided in one of three methods, TTY/TDD which is a device used by the hearing impaired, web browser, or via IP (Internet Protocol).  In the state of Florida it is at the discretion of each PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) regarding how they are going to accept the text services.  Each of the three methods has its limitations and some require infrastructure upgrades or modifications. Modifications to software and hardware can also be very costly for some counties.

Taking into consideration these benefits, limitations and Infrastructure requirements Charlotte County E911 is working towards being able to receive text via the latter of the three options, IP (internet protocol). Charlotte County is one of the very few counties in the State of Florida that has had an opportunity to make advancements towards Next Generation 9-1-1 Technologies. Most are currently using the legacy 9-1-1 technology.

Charlotte County currently receives 9-1-1 calls via an IP Network Service (Intrado). In order to receive text to 9-1-1 via the IP Network will require an upgrade to the telephone equipment (hardware and software) in the two dispatch centers and backup center.  Due to the age of the telephone equipment currently in use, upgrades to hardware and software would be necessary regardless of the intent to move forward with text to 9-1-1.  Keeping this in mind, for Charlotte County, it makes sense to combine efforts with upgrading equipment and move forward with text to 9-1-1 via the IP network.

The process of upgrading the equipment, software and implementing text to 9-1-1 is not quick process as there are funding issues, choosing a vendor, hardware/software installation, making requests to the carriers, standard operating procedure development, and telecommunicator training.  The ball is already rolling in the right direction however implementation is expected to take place tentatively by the 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 2015 calendar year.

Until text to 9-1-1 can be implemented in Charlotte County, those that attempt to reach 9-1-1 via text will receive a bounce back message stating that that text to 9-1-1 is not available. At that point, the caller would need to place a voice call.  Please check the E911 website for further developments regarding this topic.


Related reading:

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So you say you want to be a dispatcher?

Bailey_job fair_Aug 2014CCSO Communications Division is soliciting applications for the position of Public Safety Telecommunicator. On August the 6, 2014, Communications Administrator, Melanie Bailey accompanied Human Resources Supervisor, Heather Lupinetti at a local job fair at North Port High School. The event was sponsored by Career Source of Southwest Florida. Of the approximate 350 attendees at the job fair Administrator Bailey had an opportunity to reach out to roughly 150 people.  She provided information regarding job tasks, skill requirements, training and pay. Due to the nature of the job, there can be periods with high rates of turn over.  So, even if all positions were filled at the time, and you are interested turn in your application anyway.

More information on becoming employed as a Public Safety Telecommunicator can be found on the Careers in 9-1-1 page of this website.

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E911 Participates in CCSO Jr. Law Academy

On June 13th and July 3, 2014 Charlotte County E9-1-1 participated in the Jr. Law Academy. This was the 2nd annual Jr. Law Academy sponsored by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. The program is primarily for kids in middle school, ages 11 to 14. There are approximately 40 participants per session. Further information regarding future camp participation is provided below.

During the course of the academy, topics regarding law enforcement operations and overall public safety are presented. Diane Barton, E9-1-1 Database Analyst, along with Public Safety Telecommunicators, Bethanne Alexin and Jamie Risi, had an opportunity to present information about 9-1-1. Diane conducted the classroom portion of the presentation, while Operators, Alexin and Risi provided tours of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Dispatch Center.

At the beginning of the presentation, Diane was able acquire information regarding the campers’ knowledge and experience related to 9-1-1. It was learned that few had called 9-1-1 for help and others called by accident. Most did not know what the operator needed from them when they call 9-1-1.

During the presentation, the campers learned information regarding proper use of 9-1-1, what “is” and “is not” an emergency, and information required by an operator when making that emergency call. They were presented with information regarding the different types of devices that may be used to contact 9-1-1 and the benefits and short comings of some of these devices.   At the conclusion of the presentation the campers were broken into groups where they had an opportunity to show what they learned about 9-1-1 by drawing a poster. One group poster from each session was selected by the public safety telecommunicators to appear on this website. The winning posters are shown below.

As they worked on the posters each group participated in a tour of the dispatch center where they were able to see the activity of a live 9-1-1 center. They learned some of the technology that is used daily when receiving and processing emergency and non-emergency calls for all three disciplines, law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services.  

This was a great opportunity for the E911 Office to reach out to students in Charlotte County as part of our public outreach efforts and we look forward to working with future academies. If you are interested in having your son or daughter participate next year or would like additional information please contact:

DFC David W. Sonne, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office

School Resource Officer, L.A.Ainger Middle School

941 697 5800 x 203, David.Sonne

jr law academy 2014(1) jr law academy 2014(2) jr law academy 2014(3)


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9-1-1 Hero’s

Today, two young boys were recognized as 911 Hero’s by Charlotte County E911  On May 24, 2014, Landon Payne age 8, called 911 regarding his grandmother who was having a medical episode and could barely speak. Landon provided information about his grandmother and while attempting to obtain more information, gave the phone to his brother Gavin, age 6, who also spoke to the 911 Operator. The boys did a great job with calling 911, remaining calm, providing the information they knew, preparing the scene by attempting to put the dogs away before medical assistance arrived. If the medical call had not been placed by Landon, the situation could have had devastating results. The boys had an opportunity to meet the operator they spoke to during the 9-1-1 call, Supervisor Sharon Brunhuber, Sheriff Bill Prummell and several members of the Sheriff’s Office Staff.  The boys were able to visit the dispatch center and see some of the tools used by 9-1-1 center personnel.  The boys were presented with certificates of appreciation and goodie bags.  A big Thank You to Landon and Gavin from Charlotte County E911.  


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Catching Up

It’s been little while since our article. There have been many exciting things happening in the 911 industry and here in Charlotte County over the past couple of months.

 April 2014

The month of April was National 911 Public Education Month. Throughout the month, the Charlotte County E911 office concentrated on public education efforts in the community. These efforts consisted of:

  • Using the Red E Fox robot and a video “The Great 911 Adventures”, E911 personnel instructed children in the public schools grades Pre-K to 2nd on the proper use of the 911 system. The E911 Office was able to reach out to approximately 950 students during this month. Public education efforts in the schools is not restricted to the month of April and the E911 Office will continue to reach out to schools who were not able to schedule during this month.
  • An unmanned 911 boot containing education materials for adults was set up on the 2nd floor of the courthouse on E Marion Ave during the week of the 7th. Another booth for children was set up at the Charlotte Mid-County Regional Library children’s department during the week of the 14th.
  •  A 911 public education booth with games and prizes for children were held at various times during the month to include the Free Family Fun fest, Charlotte County Easter Egg Hunt and the YMCA Healthy Kids Day.

While much time was dedicated to 911 public education during the National 911 Public Education Campaign, the E911 Office schedules 911 educational events throughout the year. It is important for children to recognize the importance and proper use of 911. If you would like to schedule an event, contact the Charlotte County E911 Office at 941-575-5339.

April 13-19, 2014 was National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. During this week, the men and women who serve in public safety communications centers, were recognized for the hard work they do every day. The job as a public safety telecommunicator is often a thankless job that goes unnoticed. The communications centers are manned 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Some days in a 911 center can be hectic and the telecommunicators must deal with some unpleasant situations. They often don’t see daylight throughout an entire 12 hour shift and work when no one else would. This type of job is not for the weak of heart as it takes a strong person to do this job. During telecommunicators week, members of the public safety communication centers at the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Punta Gorda Police Department were recognized and shown gratitude by the members of their organizations for their outstanding service to the community.

April 28, 2014 HB 175 passed the Florida Senate. This bill provides a mechanism for collecting a monthly fee for prepaid cellular services. The bill was introduced to make up for lost revenue as subscribers moved from traditional telephone services and contract cellular services to non-traditional pre-paid services that did not collect a fee.There will be an upcoming article posted that provides additional information of this bill.

May 2014

May 14, 2014 was the target date for the four major cellular carriers (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile) to provide text to 911 services for 911 call centers that were prepared to receive texts. 911 centers across the State of Florida are preparing their infrastructure and policies to begin implementing text to 911 services. Collier County Sheriff’s Office recently became the first county in the state to implement this service. This technology is currently in the infancy stages and while Collier County Sheriff’s Office can receive texting to 911, currently this capability exists only for Verizon customers. You will be able to read about the plans for texting in Charlotte County in an upcoming post so check back for additional articles related to text to 911 services for Charlotte County.










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Know Your Location

With the advances in technology, it is often assumed that a 911 operator is going to know exactly where a caller is calling from regardless of what type of device he is using to make the call. That’s not necessarily so and users of the 911 system should always make it a point to know where they are calling from whenever possible.

For the traditional home telephone service users, typically when the caller makes a 911 call, the callers home address is indicated on the telephone screen for the operator however; there are cases where a person has moved and the telephone company they are using has not updated their information and may show an old address. VoIP telephone users who use their computers to place calls when they travel, often fail to remember that the address that displays for the operator is the one the caller has listed on their VoIP account, and not necessarily the location he is calling from. This is often the home address when the caller opened the account. Cellular devices may or may not indicate the caller’s location. Depending on the carrier and the device, the information displayed for a cellular user may indicate either a tower location or the caller’s location. Caller’s location may be exact or may be anywhere between 50 to 300 meters of the callers location. Location accuracy is dependent upon the carrier and the location technology they use.

This article lists only a few of the common issues regarding 911 callers location that 911 operators encounter on a daily basis. There are many other factors that can prevent an operator from being able to obtain an accurate location of a 911 caller. That being stated, it is essential that all 911 system users know the location of the emergency they are reporting whenever possible.  Knowing your location may include the physical address of the emergency if known to the caller, street & cross street (street that intersects with the main street), and landmarks.  Keep in mind that when calling from a business where the caller is unsure of the exact physical address, there may be more than one business in the same county with the same name and therefore providing a street, cross street, and city will also be important to the operator.  Streets within the same county are also common. Knowing whether it’s a street, court, avenue, etc. can make a difference in response times.

Having accurate information from the onset of the call can have a positive impact on the call.  So when calling 911, don’t make an assumption that the operator has your location information, know your location.   For more information on Charlotte County 911, please visit



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Outcomes: Good and Bad

In February of this year, one of Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Dispatchers, Bethann Alexin was recognized by the media for saving the life of a person who had gone into cardiac arrest. Kudos go out to Operator Alexin. It’s a wonderful feeling when a 9-1-1 operator receives feedback from a person who survives due to operator efforts and that of their partners in the field, fire/EMS personnel and law enforcement. In contrast though, it’s a sad day when news is received of a person who has not survived. Seldom though do 9-1-1 operators ever even get to hear the outcome, good or bad. As stated by Bethann Alexin “We don’t know the outcome of these calls until we read about it in the newspaper”.

There are several factors regarding 9-1-1 calls that can create stress for 9-1-1 operators. They include the amount of 9-1-1 calls that are received at a given time that can inundate a dispatch center, dealing with hostile callers and those screaming in distress, among many others.  Not knowing the outcome of a situation may add to the stress of the job for some operators. In the March 2012, Time Magazine article “Study: 911 Dispatchers Experience PTSD Symptoms Too”, not knowing the outcome of a call is noted as significant stressor.  For some of the more severe cases, 9-1-1 operators may have an opportunity to be involved in after action debriefings.  In Charlotte County Public Safety, after action debriefings, commonly referred, to as critical incident stress debriefings are typically conducted by the critical incident stress management team and a health care provider. The attendees are those people who are directly involved in the incident. All debriefings are confidential which allows the attendees to speak more openly about the details of the event and their own personal feelings during the course of the call. Talking about the details of the traumatic call can contribute to improved mental health of the operators and responders, by being able to assign closure.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatch Center received 66,808 9-1-1 calls during the 2013 fiscal year. For a majority of these calls, the operator who took that call and the operator that dispatched it may never know how the call turned out.

For additional related information the following sites have been provided for you.


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Charlotte County 9-1-1 Technology Advances

On December 20, 2013, Charlotte County 9-1-1 phone system officially advanced to a native IP system. (end to end Internet Protocol)  This is one of several steps necessary for Charlotte County 9-1-1 to continue paving the path towards what is known in the industry as NG911. (Next Generation 9-1-1) One of the many features in NG911 technologies is texting to 9-1-1 through a 9-1-1 network.  Texting along with other features of NG911 may require significant changes in the infrastructure depending on the county. Counties in the state of Florida vary in infrastructure with some being slightly more advanced and will be capable of receiving SMS text messages through the network when the cell phone carriers are capable of providing these services.

Charlotte County 9-1-1 is now the second in the country to be receiving 9-1-1 calls from an IP network provided by Intrado, Inc and being received through the customer premise equipment, Sentinel Patriot by Cassidian Communications. While there are other agencies in the nation that are capable of receiving an IP 9-1-1 call  through an IP network and being delivered to an IP telephone system, Charlotte County is the 2nd to have this technology from end to end through Intrado, Inc. and Cassidian Communications collectively.

While this was a big step in the process for Charlotte County, the advancements continue. New computers and upgraded software will be required and even then, the cellular companies must  be able to deliver the call to the 9-1-1 network. So don’t start texting just yet. It’s not ready and when it does become available, please keep in mind that the best and recommended method of communication will always be the voice call whenever possible.

Please continue to view this site for information on further advancements in the Charlotte County 9-1-1 System.  




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