INDIANA – It’s a life or death problem.
Lately, it’s gotten worse.
That was the message about 911 location accuracy delivered to FCC Chairman Arjit Pai during his visit to the Hamilton County 911 Center Tuesday.
In February, CBS4 uncovered how wireless carriers struggle to accurately pinpoint 911 callers. They’re aiming to meet FCC standards for improvements, but results vary widely from location to location.
In August, CBS4 took a look at a third-party company, Rapid SOS, working with the FCC and industry leaders to implement their own location tracking software in 911 centers across America.
According to Barry Ritter, the former state 911 board director and Hamilton County 911 director Mike Snowden, some improvement is needed as they’ve seen “a degradation in Phase 2 accuracy”.
In layman’s terms, that means dispatchers are sometimes “bidding” or requesting data from wireless providers over and over, only to still pinpoint callers several miles away from where they actually are.
“The idea that that location accuracy is degrading over time, we find to be very problematic and we need that to be looked at seriously by the industry that partners on that,” said Snowden.
Representative Susan Brooks, who visited the center with Chairman Pai, echoed those concerns.
“This is a disturbing trend, if location information is not coming in as accurately to those dispatchers,” said Brooks. “That’s probably the number one fact that the 911 dispatchers need from the person calling in.”
Chairman Pai says he’s heard the same complaint numerous times now during his “911 tour” of sorts across America.
"That this is something that’s front of mind for a lot of public safety officials," said Pai. "That means we as the FCC need to keep on top of it as well."
That’s especially concerning to Snowden and other 911 center directors because the FCC is supposed to be the one enforcing the standards requiring wireless providers to improve their accuracy. Pai says they’ll be reassessing those standards and accountability measures.
“We’ve set certain standards over the years and we’re going to make sure those standards are up to date and give responders the information they need,” said Pai.
Snowden hopes that does happen… and soon.
CBS4 also reached out to CTIA, the wireless association industry group, for answers.
We have not received a response to questions about what if, anything, is being done to reverse this apparent backslide and keep improving location accuracy.Read More
Indiana, not spared by a nationwide opioid crisis, will receive nearly $5 million in federal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to tackle opioid abuse, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) announced on Monday.
“Combatting an epidemic that continues to sweep through our country, hitting Hoosiers hard and taking American lives at an astonishing rate, requires attention on all fronts,” said Brooks, a member of the House Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee.
“This new funding will support programs that are committed to providing Hoosiers struggling with drug addictions the resources they need in order to overcome their addictions,” she added.
The state will be awarded $3.6 million for health centers throughout Indiana to target mental health problems. The state will also receive $1.7 million to support prevention and treatment of substance abuse and recovery efforts.
“It also further supports our brave first responders who are often first on the scene where dangerous, even deadly substances are present, so they have the proper training to safely administer emergency treatment to individuals who have suffered from an overdose,” Brooks said.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, drug overdose deaths involving opioids in Indiana totaled 2,322 between 2010 and 2015.
Brooks praised President Donald Trump’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis after he declared this week “Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.”
The White House Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission recently announced it would work to speed up development of non-opioid pain medicine.
On average, nearly 100 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, the White House said.Read More
INDIANA -- Soon, calling and texting won’t be your only ways Hoosiers get information to dispatchers during an emergency.
Knowing people can’t always call, the state 911 board has already made it so that people in Indiana can text to 911 in all 92 counties.
NexGen911 is supposed to let those in need also send pictures, video and even audio clips.
Today, along with representative Susan Brooks, the FCC chairman stopped at Hamilton County’s communications center as part of his nationwide tour to better understand what’s needed to make this happen.
Ajit Pai also asked 911 center directors and first responders what challenges they currently face.
The need for funding, especially for smaller communities, was underscored by county commissioners.
Chairman Pai says he’s constantly working with lawmakers to make sure the FCC’s 9-1-1 priorities have their attention and get funding.
“I have a very proactive approach with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and houses of Congress,” said Pai. “Public safety is not a Republican Issue, it’s not a Democratic issue, it’s an American issue.”
While hearing that makes Hamilton County’s 911 director Mike Snowden happy, he says he has other concerns in addition to money, with Indiana 911 centers possibly accepting the NextGen media as early as next year.
“My dispatchers are not crime scene technicians,” said Snowden. They are not police officers and firefighters for a reason. And so, to introduce a videotape of a crime scene to that dispatcher, how is that going to affect their mental health?”
Snowden says they’re already looking into ways to train dispatchers to mentally handle the pictures and video.
“What is it for the mental health of our employees and how are we going to keep them resilient and able to handle this new technology?” said Snowden of the questions 911 directors are asking themselves. “It’s a holistic approach that we have to take because it’s not just as simple as send me a picture.”Read More
Carmel, IN – Today, Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN05) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai toured Hamilton County’s state-of-the-art 911 Communications Center and held a roundtable discussion with local public safety leaders to discuss the path forward for Next Generation 911 (NG911) capabilities. NG911 is a system that allows digital information (e.g., voice, photos, videos, text messages) to flow seamlessly from the public, through the 911 network, and on to emergency responders.
“Indiana is ahead of the curve when it comes to public safety. For example, in all 92 counties in the state, Hoosiers can text 911 to receive the help they need. I am proud of the hard work from public safety leaders in the Fifth District who are dedicated to ensuring safety in our communities,” said Brooks. “As we work to achieve true NG911, it is vital that we learn from people at the ground level who work to protect our communities day in and day out. As a member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, I look forward to sharing today’s discussion with my colleagues in Congress as we work to improve public safety communications for communities across the country. Thank to you Chairman Pai for his dedication to public safety communications and improving the lives of Americans through connectivity.”
“Effective communications are vital in times of emergency, and the FCC must work closely with local public safety officials and industry to ensure these systems are ready when needed,” said Pai. “The FCC is dedicated to making sure Americans are able to access critical information and connect with others during emergencies. I’m grateful to Rep. Brooks for her leadership in addressing these important issues and I thank all those working to ensure that their neighbors can connect to the emergency services they need.”
Executive Directors from the NG911 Institute, IN911, Indiana Integrated Public Safety Commission, Hamilton County 911 Communications; Fire and Police Chiefs from Noblesville, Westfield, Fishers, and Carmel; Hamilton County Commissioners; the President of the National Emergency Number Association; the Director of Indiana’s Statewide 911 Board; the Hamilton County Sheriff; the Mayor of Noblesville; 911 telecommunicators at the facility; and other public safety leaders also participated in today’s discussion.
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai visited Noblesville on Tuesday for a roundtable discussion how Indiana has enhanced and could still enhance more methods of communication with its 911 dispatchers.
Pai told the group of Hamilton County emergency responders that he was impressed with the state’s Text 911 program, the first in a state of our size. Text 911 is available in all 92 Indiana counties.
“The FCC is always looking for ways to make sure your 911 system is robust, no matter what the emergency is: hurricane, tornado, earthquake, terrorist attack,” Pai said. “We want to make sure that when people are in a moment of need they can reach emergency responders.”
However, the discussion quickly turned to what’s next for Next Generation 911, or NG911, in the state.
“The next piece is really the ability to send video and photographs into a dispatch center,” said Michael Snowden, executive director of Hamilton County Public Safety Communications. “That’s coming in the state of Indiana we expect in the next year or so, and again we’ll be at the forefront because that’s not something that’s being done throughout the United States.”
“They can send a picture of a plate of a suspect vehicle who may be leaving the scene of the accident but they’re able to snap a photograph as they person drives off,” Snowden said. “Today, an officer literally could be driving to a scene of a crime or an accident and drive right past the suspect because we don’t have that information. And so having that information send to us would be incredibly helpful.”
Officials expect that dispatchers have more to handle than just calls, texts and potentially video, as more and more young adults are using social media to contact emergency authorities even using tags like #NeedHelp. Pai said he’s seen this kind of innovative 911 technology used firsthand in the hurricane-hit regions in Florida and Texas.
“We heard a story about a 14-year-old girl who was rescued by the Coast Guard. She got on her iPhone and asked Siri, ‘Siri, call the Coast Guard,'” Pai said. “Luckily in that case she was saved but in an emergency like that it’s really difficult for public safety officials to keep track of all the different ways people are asking for help.”
Chief Steve Orusa of the Fishers Fire Department agreed. He said he has had to add staff to handle the social media emergency monitoring.
“With Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all those social media platforms, that’s that much more information that we have to manage coming in,” he said. “So what we’ve done is develop an intelligence section that’s staffed with more than one person. We’ve even thought about calling in the [high school’s] National Honor Society because obviously some of us are not as digitally competent as they are.”
Officials are also looking further into the future, past social media and human-generated emergency calls.
“It’s not far in our future that a refrigerator could call 911 because it’s flooding a house,” Snowden said, “or running shoes could call 911 because the person within those shoes is having a heart issue.”
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, a Republican from Indiana, helped lead the discussion in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Offices on Tuesday. She said the changes will take time and there are several funding options to help enable a smooth transition, including grants, federal funding and reallocating the $1 911 charge on phone bills. The shift in workload for Indiana dispatchers could take some time as well.
“My staff weren’t hired or trained to look at crime scene photos,” Snowden said. “So what is that going to look like for them, and how it that going to touch the mental health of our dispatchers?”Read More
Carmel, IN – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that Indiana will receive nearly $5 million in federal funding to combat the opioid crisis. Specifically, the state will receive $3.6 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for health centers across the state to tackle mental health issues. In addition, Indiana will receive $1.7 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.
“Combatting an epidemic that continues to sweep through our country, hitting Hoosiers hard and taking American lives at an astonishing rate, requires attention on all fronts,” said Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05). “This new funding will support programs that are committed to providing Hoosiers struggling with drug addictions the resources they need in order to overcome their addictions. It also further supports our brave first responders who are often first on the scene where dangerous, even deadly substances are present, so they have the proper training to safely administer emergency treatment to individuals who have suffered from an overdose.”
Over the weekend, President Trump declared the week of September 17 “Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.” This is following the establishment of the White House Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission earlier this year, which today announced a new effort to fast-track the development of non-opioid pain medication as well as medication assisted treatment options.
“When I visited with the Grant County Substance Abuse Task Force in August, I heard from community leaders the importance of educating the youngest members of our communities about the dangers of drug abuse,” continued Brooks. “I applaud the President’s efforts to combat an epidemic that is hurting our loved ones across the country and am hopeful that with continued attention and education, less of our family members and friends will suffer from opioid and heroin addiction.”
Working to pave the way for the development of next generation wireless technology, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks introduced a resolution in support of promoting the deployment of fifth generation mobile networks (5G) to fuel economic growth.
“5G technology unleashes possibilities that we have only imagined up until this point, such as driverless vehicles to create safer commutes to and from work, wireless security devices to secure our homes even when we are not there, and almost instant connectivity with first responders in the time of emergency,” Brooks said.
Brooks introduced H.Res. 521 with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). The congresswomen are co-founders and co-chairs of the 5G Caucus.
The new technology will help connect billions of devices, creating opportunities for improved efficiency, mobility and accessibility. Development of 5G networks will increase download speeds up to 10 gigabits per second and allow for more reliable connections and greater data capacity.
The resolution also seeks to advance 5G networks in order to reduce the disparity in communications services available in rural areas.
“5G will help close the digital divide—it has the potential to make troubles of accessing internet in rural communities an issue of the past,” Brooks said.
New 5G networks are seen creating more than 3 million U.S. jobs and generating $500 billion to the economy of the United States over the next decade, according to the text of the resolution. Telecom operators are projected to invest $275 billion in the technology.
The 5G networks will also support innovation and productivity through numerous technological developments across a range of industries and applications, including telemedicine, precision agriculture, self-driving cars, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, smart communities, and advancements in public safety, the resolution said.
“I am proud to introduce this legislation with Congresswoman Brooks and look forward to exploring how 5G will impact our communities and how Congress can help lay the groundwork for this emerging technology that will improve our economy and grow innovation for years to come,” Dingell said.
The resolution was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.Read More
INDIANAPOLIS - What approach does the President want to take on DACA, and how will it effect an already contentious political climate for congressional Republicans?
It's a vexing questions for many in the GOP, after President Trump met again with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer this past week, leading to confusion over whether a deal was imminent allowing "dreamers" to stay if more border security enhancements were put in place.
This week, we spoke with two Republican members of Indiana's congressional delegation with seemingly different views on how to move forward.
On Tuesday, before Trump's latest meeting with Democratic leadership, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) told us she was hopeful a deal could be struck to keep the dreamers here, with a possible path toward citizenship.
"We have to fix the laws to figure out what to do with the hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought here by their parents," said Brooks. "They've grown up in our schools, they are now in our colleges, they're enrolling in the military and working. We've got to figure out the path forward for them because they were brought here through no fault of their own but with their parents."
When asked specifically about that path forward, Brooks highlighted legislation she has supported in the past, allowing for a conditional permanent status for a period of five years.
"After that five year period, they can apply for legal permanent status, the green card, and they can over a period of time, work toward citizenship," said Brooks. "I believe it's a responsible way forward."
Brooks met with President Trump this past week to discuss tax reform as part of a bi-partisan group of House lawmakers.
In a separate gathering, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) also met with Trump and a small group of senators from both parties.
So are these meetings part of a new bi-partisan approach for the President, or just a temporary shift in strategy? And what will it mean for the DACA issue moving forward?
In an interview on Friday afternoon, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) told us he wasn't ready to negotiate on DACA until the President's border wall became a reality.
As one of Donnelly's potential opponents in next year's Senate race, Rokita has taken a hard line on immigration issues, attempting to position himself closely with the President's base.
"First and foremost, we have got to have a wall. After the wall is guaranteed or already built, then we can talk about DACA issues and what's important, but first and foremost, we must have a wall," said Rokita. "A sovereign nation cannot be sovereign if it cannot control its borders, and that's what President Trump campaigned on, and that's why I support him, and why so many people support me."
Rokita said he wasn't entirely against the idea of the President working with Democrats, and questioned reports suggesting any sort of deal had actually been struck in last week's meeting.
Rokita's main opponent in next year's Senate primary, Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) has not commented on the President's talks with the Democrats regarding DACA.Read More
NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, and Republican Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana, about their meeting with President Trump about tax reform.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
President Trump hopes that overhauling the U.S. tax code will be a signature legislative accomplishment, and he's willing to cross the aisle to make that happen. The president hosted a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House earlier this week to talk about tax overhaul legislation.
New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer and Indiana Republican Susan Brooks were at the table. I spoke with them earlier this afternoon about their meeting with President Trump. And I began by asking them how they discussed a plan that no one has seen.
SUSAN BROOKS: The ways and means committee has been working on tax reform actually for a couple of Congresses now, so this is not new. So I think what - the purpose of the meeting really was to bring both sides of the aisle together to really stress the importance of reforming our tax code and letting everybody know this is the president's top priority. He did hear from everybody. So I thought it was very productive.
JOSH GOTTHEIMER: And can I add to that 'cause I think when we're able to also at the table roll up our sleeves and figure out how we can find a good middle ground, not insist on a hundred percent - and I think, Susan, you said this in the meeting, which I thought was exactly right. We have to get to 80 percent solutions. And you're never going to get everything you want, but legislation will be durable if it's produced working in a bipartisan way.
SHAPIRO: At the same time, Republican leaders in Congress are hoping to do this through a reconciliation process that would allow them to pass any bill with just Republican votes. This morning President Trump was tweeting about how problematic the filibuster is. Do you think that bipartisanship is actually going to happen on this bill?
BROOKS: Well, hundreds of meetings, dozens and dozens of hearings have taken place about the need for tax reform. And so while a smaller group of, you know, Republican leaders are putting together the plan, when the plan comes out, I anticipate there will probably be some modifications. And we'd like for the Democrats to share with us what those should be. If we can't get bipartisan support, the president said, you know, then we'll have to go forward without the Democrats. But I think everyone agreed that it would be better if it could be a bipartisan bill.
SHAPIRO: This does sound similar to what happened with the health care bill, which was developed in private and then criticized for not having enough time for members of Congress to read and the public to comment on it.
GOTTHEIMER: And I think it would be a huge mistake in the end if we went the path of one-sided partisan extreme legislation similar to how we did health care in the earlier part of this Congress. We think it's very important that we have a seat at the table early on. You can't expect us at the end - especially as a Democrat saying this, you can't expect at the end to hand something over and say, OK, are you in, or you're out? That is not the way I think the most productive governing happens. And it's not a way to bring everyone on board and get the best solutions.
SHAPIRO: I think you both agree that corporate tax rates are too high.
SHAPIRO: And I think you both agree that the tax code is too complex.
SHAPIRO: And it's easy to say that the base tax rate should be lower. But that means getting rid of loopholes and carve-outs that a lot of American businesses and industries have come to rely on. So it's easy to promise to lower the base rate. It's harder to name the groups and industries that will lose their protections.
So I want to ask each of you. Congressman Gottheimer, you represent a district in New Jersey where the pharmaceutical and financial industries are big. Are you willing to tell them that they will lose some of their provisions in the tax code in order to get to that lower base rate?
GOTTHEIMER: Well, it's hard to say what I'm willing to do until I actually see it. You know, I - it depends on how it's structured and what the effective rate would be for everyone involved, both for individuals and for, you know, middle-class families and for businesses of all sizes, right? So you know, you can't prejudge these things. You have to actually wait to see them. But the overall mission has to be growth and job growth and making sure that we have a more affordable tax code and, as you pointed out, a less complicated tax code because while I live...
SHAPIRO: But it's so much easier to talk about the overall mission than it is to say, this industry that funds my campaigns, that employs my constituents is going to lose some of the tax breaks that they've counted on. Congresswoman Brooks, in Indiana, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, steel are all big industries. Are you willing to tell them that they will lose some of their tax breaks?
BROOKS: Well, I'll tell you what the industries are telling me. They are very anxious to move to that territorial tax system rather than keeping trillions of dollars as businesses are, all across this country, parked overseas. And so reducing the corporate tax rate is so critically important. All of our competitors are far lower than we are. But I certainly hope that the companies will invest in American jobs, will invest in their workers, will invest in our workforce, will, you know, increase our workers' paychecks.
These are the types of things that we're looking for. And I do think they're willing to give up some of the loopholes, some of the, you know, credits that they've come to expect. They know that it's going to be a dramatically different tax code going forward in order to accomplish the things we're trying to accomplish.
GOTTHEIMER: That's right. The ultimate goal is to actually keep jobs and growth here and bring jobs back where they've sent - where the tax code has actually encouraged them to move jobs overseas and keep their dollars overseas. So that to me is the ultimate test when we look at this.
SHAPIRO: I'm struck by the fact that you both talk about the need for tax reform, but neither of you has named a specific difficult choice that indicates the two sides can make the sacrifices that they're going to have to make in order to get this done. Congressman Gottheimer?
GOTTHEIMER: Well, of course we're going to have to make difficult choices. But we're not necessarily going to do them on the radio. You know, I think the key is that you have to actually see what's presented. And I think it's irresponsible to start throwing out all the points that are sticking points or opportunities until you dig into it. And I think that's what people expect of us.
To me, you have to look at these things in totality and work together to get there and be willing to not get everything you want but overall get a solution that actually moves the country forward. And that's going to be my overall test for this.
SHAPIRO: Congressman Josh Gottheimer, Democrat of New Jersey, and Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Republican of Indiana, thank you both for joining us on the program today.
BROOKS: Thank you, Ari.
GOTTHEIMER: Thank you.Read More
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) on the push for tax reform and efforts to end the opioid crisis.Read More
1505 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congresswoman Susan Brooks represents the 5th District of Indiana, which spans eight diverse counties throughout the central part of the Hoosier State. As a new member of Congress, she currently serves on the Education and Workforce, Homeland Security and Ethics Committees. She is also the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications.
Her strong background in both the public and private sectors includes experience as a proven difference maker in areas such as public safety, homeland security, counter-terrorism and economic development.
Before joining the House of Representatives, Susan served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Ivy Tech Community College. Collaborating with a wide network or stakeholders, she implemented workforce development strategies aiming to enhance job training and placement for thousands of Hoosier residents.
In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Susan as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Serving as the chief federal law enforcement officer for a majority of the Hoosier state, she received bi-partisan acclaim for efforts to battle mortgage fraud, gun violence, drug trafficking, gangs, child exploitation and identity theft.
Susan also earned recognition as Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis during the Steve Goldsmith administration, where she provided oversight on public safety operations and drove community dialogue on vital civic issues. Over her tenure, she managed police, fire and emergency response efforts while serving on boards related to criminal justice, community corrections, violence reduction and race relations.
Susan practiced law at the Indianapolis firm of Ice Miller and also served as a criminal defense attorney for Indianapolis based McClure, McClure and Kammen.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio, Susan pursued a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In May of 2013, Susan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Marian University in Indianapolis. She resides in Carmel, Indiana with her husband David and they have two young adult children.
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