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Video 911 Calls Coming Soon To Volusia County

Date Added: April 27, 2022 11:52 am

Video 911 Calls Coming Soon To Volusia County Image

Andrew Gant
Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations


The Volusia Sheriff’s Office is preparing to deploy new technology that will make video 911 calls possible for the first time in Volusia County.

The new platform, Carbyne, will also allow VSO dispatchers to share a caller’s video with responding units in real time, sending them up-to-date information in seconds, even before they’ve arrived on scene.

In addition to the video capability, Carbyne will also provide improved caller location data that’s more precise and available almost instantly.

“Every 911 call comes with unknowns, and so much is riding on that initial information gathered over the phone,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in announcing the new program. “If we can get a video call up, that gives us a chance to send better info and even a live view to our first responders in those crucial moments before they get to the scene.”

Telecommunicators at the VSO Communications Center have been training on the new platform for weeks in preparation for launch. The system is not yet live. *UPDATE: Launch is now scheduled for the first week of June 2022.

For callers, participation in a video call is voluntary. Consent of the caller is required. If the caller consents, the dispatcher will send a link to the caller’s cell phone via text message, which will activate a video call once the caller presses the link.

Video calls will be limited, and not used on every call to 911. The option will be provided on calls that fit certain criteria, according to VSO policy developed specifically for the new program.

It’s important to know the video call function also does not provide VSO any access to the contents or settings of a caller’s phone in real time or at a later date – it simply opens up a line of communication similar to Skype or FaceTime, except the dispatcher is not visible to the caller.

Just like a call to 911, the video calls will be recorded, and retained in accordance with Florida law. That means your video call could be used as evidence in court, and may be subject to public records disclosure with redactions just like a traditional 911 call. However, Florida law [see Chapter 365.171 (12) (a)] states that any information that reveals the identity of a 911 caller reporting an emergency or requesting emergency service is confidential. To maintain that confidentiality, any identifying video, imagery or other information that appears in a video 911 call will be redacted from the record prior to release under Florida’s public records law.

It's also important to note that video callers, just like traditional 911 callers, must be careful not to place themselves or others in danger in order to report information.

The Carbyne platform is being used in several other jurisdictions in Florida and around the country. In 2018, Fayette County, Georgia, began implementation of Carbyne, and went fully live in 2020. In Florida, the Largo Police Department became the first agency to adopt the platform in 2019. The Miami-Dade Police Department launched a year-long pilot program with Carbyne in June 2021.

The Volusia Sheriff’s Office also offers Text to 911 service, which launched in 2018 for those who are unable to make a phone call, or who can’t safely speak on the phone.

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