Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County, Middleton Reach 911 Service Agreement

October 18, 2006
Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

Middleton and its surrounding areas will have enhanced wireless 911 service under a tentative agreement reached between Dane County and the City of Middleton, officials announced today. The tentative agreement described by Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Middleton Mayor Doug Zwank means cell phone calls from the Middleton area will be instantly located and mapped. “This agreement improves public safety,” Falk said. “It provides for faster ambulance, fire and police dispatch for cell phone calls in the greater Middleton area.” Zwank called it “an issue of how best to utilize new 911 wireless telephone technology to best serve the residents of Madison and Middleton in dispatching emergency services as fast as possible. “With the cooperative effort between the County and the City of Middleton, we have a good plan to collect actual data to use before making the long-term decision,” Zwank said. “I would like to thank the County Executive for her support in working out this agreement." At issue are the facts cell phone use is widespread and cell phone transmission towers cover many jurisdictions. The City of Middleton had wanted to handle its locally generated calls, but the current technology cannot handle calls by jurisdiction. Middleton, for example, cannot process wireless 911 calls without taking some from neighboring municipalities, including the city of Madison. The agreement was negotiated by Dane County Public Safety Communications Director Duke Ellingson and Middleton Police Chief Brad Keil, and includes a 90-day trial to determine how best to route the calls. “Providing the best emergency service to those in crisis was not the question between the County and Middleton officials,” Falk said, noting the enhanced cell phone service generating caller location and identification is available in all other parts of Dane County. “The question was how best to route the calls. This trial period will provide us with more answers how best to handle this technical side of a critically important human situation – that being a person in need of fast help.” The agreement was approved by the Middleton City Council on October 17, and now must be approved by the Dane County 911 Center Board. ###