NY Daily News - May 05, 2012by Jonathan Lemire AND Reuven Blau
Unified Call Taker has cost $2 billionAFTER YEARS of denials, the city finally admitted Friday that its new $2 billion 911 system is flawed -- and has put New Yorkers' lives in jeopardy. The controversial program, dubbed the Unified Call Taker system, has been plagued by computer glitches and a lack of training for its users that has led to precious time being wasted during emergencies, a damning report concluded.
Often-panicked callers were frequently forced to repeat themselves when talking to dispatchers, and the NYPD and FDNY were using different maps -- meaning that first responders sometimes ended up in the wrong place.
Although acknowledging UCT's problems, City Hall stood by the state-of-the-art system.
"The people and process have not caught up with the technology," said Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway.
"The report strongly endorses unified call taking as the right model for New York City."
The system made several high-profile mistakes in its first months and was blamed for delays that may have cost several people their lives.
From the new system's inception in 2009, the police and fire unions have steadily criticized UCT as a waste of resources that actually hindered highly-trained dispatchers while doing their jobs.
The report, created by a Washington consulting group and aptly-named "911 CPR," was commissioned after the city's botched response to the 2010 blizzard.
"The fact that it's not as large as we expected might lead a cynical person to believe that it has been sanitized," said Al Hagan, head of the fire officers union.