New York to add photo-sending capabilities for 9-1-1 calls

New York (NY) - New York will soon be getting a new system that could be one of the biggest advancements in emergency call centers since the creation of 911 over 35 years ago. In his State of the City speech, mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city has plans to allow callers to send cell phone pictures and videos to local 911 dispatchers.

"we'll begin a revolutionary innovation in crime-fighting: Equipping 911 call centers to receive digital images and videos New Yorkers send from cell phones and computers, something no other city in the world is doing." said Bloomberg during his speech yesterday. Additionally, there will be a designated place to send photo and video files online at, he said.

Bloomberg did not reveal specific details, but city officials were quoted as saying that the existing technology was essentially already in place and it would cost the city next to nothing to officially implement the feature.

Once put into place, it would arguably be the biggest innovation for 911 since the first emergency call was made on February 16, 1968. By sending pictures, 911 operators will be able to more clearly see what the danger is and where exactly the caller is located.

Bloomberg also mentioned that the same technology would be introduced to 311 call centers, the number for questions about everything not emergency related, upon successful implementation to the 911 centers. Bloomberg said that the system would be up and running "this year."