Changes are coming to the way Thunder Bay police handle 911 calls.

Plans for a so-called Next Generation 911 system were outlined Tuesday at a Police Services Board meeting.

Starting next year, Thunder Bay police will allow people with speech and hearing difficulties to describe their emergencies through text messaging.

The service will eventually be available to everyone, and there are plans to ultimately include video calls.
Police chief J-P Levesque admitted he doesn't know how much it's going to cost.

"I use the phrase, 'best guess,'" Levesque said, "[and] a lot of my colleagues throughout the province are saying the same thing."

Coun. Joe Virdiramo asked Levesque for more details on cost, and said he wants to explore different funding options before committing to it in the police budget.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story stated that the CRTC, the federal telecommunications regulator, has mandated that all police services update their 911 systems. The CRTC says it has encouraged municipal and provincial governments to make the changes. but only mandated that wireless carriers and large telephone companies make changes to support the provision of Text with 911 by January 24, 2014.
    Sep 20, 2013 8:29 AM ET