Chicago Becomes First City With Citizens Sending Photos, Videos to 911

More

Call takers at Chicago's 911 dispatch center won't ask callers whether or not they have any images to send because they don't want to waste time explaining how to transmit a photo, but if a caller brings it up, they'll happily accept one. "No other city does that right now," Jose Santiago, executive director of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communication, told the Chicago Sun-Times, referring to Chicago's willingness to accept photos and videos from callers and distribute them to detectives and first responders.

Santiago is warning Chicagoans not to jeopardize themselves by trying to take pictures of shootings in progress or other violence. A call or text message works just as well in those situations, he said.

All the images received so far have been law-enforcement related, Drew said.

The city's dispatch system already scans for any surveillance cameras within 150 feet of a call. Any real-time video then gets put up on the call taker's screen with a map.

The images from 911 callers will allow authorities to analyze emergencies more objectively, Santiago said.

They also can be used as evidence in a criminal case, he said.

"Callers have a tendency to become confused or excited during an event," Santiago said. "Pictures don't."

But some city officials worry the program won't gain much popularity, pointing to the Txt2Tip initiative that allows people to text-message tips to the police. That program never met the department's expectations.

Read the full story at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgement, and what it means to love their bodies


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In