Minneapolis woman calls 911, gets New York operator


A Minneapolis woman says she is baffled after she called 911 with her cell phone, but connected to an operator in New York, WCCO reports.

Faye Lewis told the station that it happened last month when she arrived home at about 4:30 a.m. from her bar job. A few minutes after getting home, someone started pounding on her door and jiggling her door handle, so she called authorities.

But instead of getting the Minneapolis 911 operator 2 miles from her location, Lewis got an operator asking "what borough" she lived in.

"I was like I live in Minneapolis and she’s like 'Oh, you dialed 911 in New York,'" Lewis told WCCO.

When she redialed 911, Lewis said it happened again, the station noted. The New York operator then contacted the Minneapolis police for Lewis, and arrived about a half hour later.

Lewis told WCCO that the city of Minneapolis and T-Mobile couldn't explain the mix-up.

The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Find Me 911 is urging the federal government to upgrade the country’s 911 system and improve the reliability of emergency calls made from cell phones. Currently, the organization says, more than 70 percent of calls to 911 are coming from cell phones.

"The current 911 landline location system, tied to a physical street address, is highly effective. The current 911 wireless phone location system is not," the group's website says. "Yet millions of Americans each year rely on their mobile phones to place emergency calls to 911, not realizing that if they place that call from many indoor locations there is no ability to determine their location and there is no FCC requirement that wireless carriers be able to do so."

According to the organization, if a person makes a 911 call from the outside, the cell's GPS chip connects with satellites and cell towers to connect with your location. But if a call is made from the inside – as the majority of calls are – then the signal doesn't have a clear path and the call could up ending up skipping cell phone towers and land in a different state, Find Me 911 says.

The incident with the Minneapolis woman isn't the first case of a misdirected 911 call. CBS New York said in February 2012, an emergency call from New Jersey was picked up by a New York City operator.

Find Me 911 also has stories of misdirected 911 calls from all over the country.

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