911 blackout impacted multiple Texoma counties - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

911 blackout impacted multiple Texoma counties


Two law enforcement offices tell Newschannel 6 a cut phone line left several Texoma law enforcement agencies unable to receive 911 calls on Monday.

"We would receive some calls but then we would go for a period where we didn't receive calls," Bowie Police Chief Guy Green said. "It was eerie to not hear any calls come in the afternoon."

He said no one in the department knew the landline and 911 system were down until someone walked into the building to alert them at 2 p.m Monday.

"[He said] 'your phones down. We can't get through,'" Chief Green said. "We started checking a little closer and found out it's not working properly."

Chief Green said this has happened at least three times in the last 10 years before.This time the issue was a cut AT&T phone line.

The effects reached law enforcement agencies in Montague, Young, and Clay County as well as other nearby police departments.

"You kind of get out and drive around and just look for people and see if someone is trying to wave you down with a problem," Chief Green said.

He also let more than 5,000 Bowie residents know as well using social media. It is a tool he said he is considering using more often.

"We do watch for messages on there a little closer when we know there are communication problems," Chief Green said.

Another option he said he is considering is adding another phone line with a different phone carrier.

"Maybe put that [number] out on Facebook giving them an alternate number to try."

Emergency calls from counties affected by the blackout went to nearby law enforcement agencies whose 911 system were up and running.

Archer County Sheriff's Office was one of those agencies to receive the dispatch calls. 

"We typically notify them to say 'hey, we've got a call that's coming from your county at this address. Here's what they're complaining is going on,'" Archer County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Simon Dwyer said.

He also said despite the handful of outages he has experienced the 911 system works really well. 

"Somebody will answer the call but it may not be local," Chief Deputy Dwyer said.

The 911 system was restored just before 11:00 p.m. It is the third time in 2017 where Texas law enforcement agencies have had trouble receiving nine 911 calls.

The other incidents occurred in Dallas after the city made an upgrade and in Garland and Rowlett after citywide outages. 

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