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No More Waiting: Bill Would Connect Emergency Callers Immediately

Thousands gather at the Florida capitol (2/21/18) to push for legislative action in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fl on Valentine's Day.
Lydell Rawls
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WFSU News

911 operators will directly transfer callers instead of putting them on hold under a bill moving through the senate. The measure follows a report from the Parkland Commission.

Lauren Book is a woman with black glasses and blonde hair. She sits at a desk and looks off to the left while speaking to the committee.
Credit The Florida Channel
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The Florida Channel
Senator Lauren Book speaks during the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“This was one of the number one reasons kids weren’t communicated with in this tragedy and one of the biggest lapses I think,” says Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation). She is referencing the communication confusion in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting. It’s a major concern to the Parkland Commission and Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) took notice.

Jeff Brandes wears a blue suit with a red tie. He sits at a desk and leans over to look to his right at the person who is speaking.
Credit The Florida Channel
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The Florida Channel
Senator Jeff Brandes explains senate bill 536 to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“When you called 911, you weren’t getting the 911 for the local police department that oversaw parkland and so they were having to transfer calls to the other 911 operator and couldn’t directly speak to law enforcement which delayed the response,” says Brandes. He’s the bill’s sponsor. “They got to be able to immediately get on the phone call on the radio and interact with that local law enforcement agency.”

The bill is heading for a full floor discussion.