Police Chief Paul Geiszler has been attempting to negotiate with Waukesha County officials for the past 15 months in order to have emergency calls from cell phones within the city routed directly to the Muskego Police Department. An ordinance change giving the city the first right of refusal over those call routes is hoped to finally make that happen.
As the Common Council voted to approve the ordinance change Tuesday night, the city may now approach cellular carriers like AT&T and Verizon to force them to transfer 911 cellular calls made in Muskego directly to the . What has been happening is that these calls are being directed to Waukesha County's Communications Center (WCCC) first, and the WCCC transfers the calls back to Muskego.
Geiszler and other a delay of up to 72 seconds. In the case of life-threatening emergencies, it's not been a delay they've been willing to accept, especially as of March 2011, when Muskego's dispatch center was upgraded to handle such calls.
The county has held fast to the routes, saying that it could create more confusion and lost time should Muskego (and potentially other municipalities) also receive other community's emergency calls. They have argued that cellular transmissions are not an exact science, and often towers can take in calls from communities outside of the area they are intended for.
A yielded a 'no decision' earlier this year, and until now wireless carriers have said that they won't make the change unless there is a rule in place. The ordinance change is hoped to provide such a rule.
Geiszler told the council that it will cost something to the wireless carriers to transfer, but that cost should not be passed on to their customers, and he felt the carriers could stand to lose more customers should they refuse to make the change.