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Three-Word App Speeds Police Response to 911 Calls

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‘What3words’ — an app that divides the world into 10-foot-square blocks distinguished by unique combinations of three words — is helping emergency dispatchers find callers in hard-to-identify locations.

What3words — an app that divides the world into 10-foot-square blocks distinguished by unique combinations of three words — is helping emergency dispatchers find callers in hard-to-identify locations, reports Police1. The technology, which is currently used by 85 percent of emergency services in the United Kingdom, enables dispatchers to quickly locate a caller’s precise spot — even if that spot is on a coastline, in a park, or at another location lacking a concrete address. For instance, what3words labels the square located directly in front of the entrance to the Statue of Liberty as palm.shut.long;  a caller can use the app to identify their precise location and communicate it to an emergency operator in three words. “I think of it as just one of many tools in our toolbox,” Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Chief Information Officer Scott Porter told GovTech. LAFD recently adopted the technology. “It’s not a replacement for traditional addresses, but it certainly is an enhancement to those locations that are difficult to describe with a traditional address.”

Although some law enforcement officials have endorsed the technology, others say it presents accuracy issues. In April, a security consultant told the BBC that he discovered “a very significant number” of similarly sounding words within close proximity, suggesting callers who misspeak could be inadvertently sending emergency services personnel to the wrong address. But app developers claimed an “error prevention feature’ would avoid that.

Source: The Crime Report https://thecrimereport.org/2021/09/02/three-word-app-speeds-police-response-to-911-calls/

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