FMPD says cell towers may be misplacing 911 calls

Warren Wright

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FMPD says cell towers may be misplacing 911 calls

CREATED Oct. 8, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Questions over unanswered 911 calls between the City of Fort Myers and the county has created a lot of questions.

From the very beginning, Fort Myers city leaders and the Police Chief thought the numbers provided by the Sheriffs Office seemed inflated... not matching what they see inside their own emergency call center.
And they think they may know why.
In this memo from Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott, he says from January 1st to August 25th, the county 911 communication center has had to answer nearly 10,000 calls from the City of Fort Myers, averaging 41 calls per day.  
Of those, he points out about seven per day required a deputy response.
But Fort Myers Police Chief Doug Baker says those numbers may be misleading.
The problem he says are cell phone towers.
FMPD can prove that cell phone calls made near FMPD headquarters bounce off this tower and go directly to Lee county dispatch.
Baker says "we have a number of cell sights throughout the city that automatically redirect... they don't come here,... they automatically go someplace else."
FMPD says there's another problem -- Lee County Public Safety allows Fort Myers operators just 20-seconds before rolling over calls -- while the Sheriff's Office gets a 24-second limit.
So why is all of this happening?  
That's what Chief Baker is hoping to find out.  
He's filed a public records request with lee county emergency services to get answers.
Baker says he simply wants to know "how does it work. why does it work that way... and what do we have to do to correct it. so the calls do come here."
There is certainly some urgency here for the Fort Myers Police Department to clarify the issue of roll-over calls.  
It all  comes just weeks before voters in Fort Myers consider whether to consolidate the Fort Myers Police Department into the Lee County Sheriff's Office. .