Video 911 calls to debut in Volusia County

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Starting Monday, video 911 calls will become a reality in Volusia County.

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The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said new technology called Carbyne will allow dispatchers to share a caller’s video with responding units in real time.

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The platform will also give 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.”

The sheriff’s office said telecommunicators have been training on the new platform for weeks.

Officials also noted that participation in video call is voluntary and the caller has to consent to it.

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If the caller consents, the dispatcher will send a link to the caller’s cellphone via text message, which will activate a video call once the caller presses the link, the sheriff’s office said.

Just like a call to 911, the video calls will be recorded, and retained in accordance with Florida law.

While Carbyne makes its debut on May 16 in Volusia County, the system is already in use in several other Florida jurisdictions and around the country.

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The Volusia County 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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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.