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Audit Audit of the State 911 Department

The audit found the State 911 Department did not effectively promote and educate the public about the statewide 911 emergency call system’s silent call feature. The audit examined the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.

Organization: Office of the State Auditor
Date published: June 30, 2021

Executive Summary

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of the State 911 Department for the period July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019. The State 911 Department is responsible for the coordination, administration, and implementation of enhanced 911 services1 throughout the Commonwealth. It is also responsible for overseeing the statewide 911 emergency call system provided by municipalities and private companies through Public Safety Answering Points for emergency services and ensuring 911 access for people with disabilities.

In this performance audit, we examined whether the State 911 Department developed and successfully executed a plan to upgrade the statewide 911 emergency call system and equipment from analog to digital to be able to respond to all 911 emergency calls from cellphones, smartphones, and landlines. Further, we determined whether the department assisted municipalities with local education programs through the regular distribution of educational materials for the silent call feature of the statewide 911 emergency call system. Finally, we examined whether all active telecommunicators were trained on 911 text handling and silent call procedures and whether telecommunicators obtained the required introductory and annual training certifications.

Below is a summary of our finding and recommendations, with links to each page listed.

Finding 1
 

The State 911 Department did not effectively assist municipalities with local public education programs for the statewide 911 emergency call system, including the silent call feature.

Recommendation
 

The State 911 Department should implement policies, procedures, and monitoring controls to ensure that it consistently helps municipalities properly educate the public about the statewide 911 emergency call system’s silent call feature through the distribution of materials, including brochures, telephone stickers, and children's educational materials.

 

A PDF copy of the audit of the State 911 Department is available here.

 

1.     Section 5.03 of Title 560 of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations states, “Enhanced 911 Service means a service consisting of communication network, database and equipment features provided for subscribers or end users of communication services enabling such subscribers or end users to reach a PSAP by dialing the digits 911, or by other means approved by the department, that directs calls to appropriate PSAPs based on selective routing and provides the capability for automatic number identification and automatic location identification.”

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