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Cause of 911 service outage still under investigation

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Deeper problems at the 911 center are in the spotlight after the six hour outage on Monday.

A server failure is partly to blame but the Capital Area Council of Governments says they are still looking into the bigger picture. Regardless of the cause, one city official says this is a sign of a much larger problem.

Although the 911 call center is back up and running, will an incident like this happen again?

The Capital Area Council of Governments says there's always the possibility of an outage since they operate on a fiber system.

This was the city manager's response on Monday, "APD, in conjunction with our partners, have been taking certain operational steps to ensure their responsiveness and that people are safe," said Marc Ott, Austin City Manager.

It's the actions that were taken afterward instead of beforehand that have some people concerned for the community.

"It's just never been a priority for the city manager and especially the deputy city manager over at public safety. They know about all these problems. You talk about this crash, well preventive maintenance is what you talk about. No one is willing to say maybe we weren't doing enough preventive maintenance," said Mike Levy, Public Safety Commission Vice Chair.

Levy thinks there are issues at the 911 center that should have been addressed a long time ago.

"Imagine the growth in the number of calls over the last decade. You have the same number of people taking calls and many of them are temporary workers, the turnover is great. This is a position that lives and dies on experienced calls takers," said Levy.

Too often people are calling 911 and getting sent to voicemail. That's why Levy is calling on voters to consider their elected officials' commitment to public safety next November.

We called the City Manager's Office for a comment, but no one was available.

During Monday's outage, we're told 90 percent of the calls were answered within 10 seconds.

The Capital Area Council of Governments says the best way to reduce these types of incidents is to switch to a wireless system; they plan to look into that within the next year.

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