Navajo Nation Seeks To Expand 911 Services

August 13, 2014

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly has issued an executive order to strengthen the tribe’s emergency telecommunication system. The goal is to have 911 services accessible throughout reservation.

If you’re living in or traveling through the Navajo Nation, access to 911 emergency response can be spotty. Right now the tribe doesn’t operate its own 911 service, which means if the call goes through, it gets re-routed to the closest border town.

John Billison with the Navajo Division of Public Safety said the system will be upgraded in several ways, including expanding landline and cell phone connectivity and establishing a tribal 911 system. They’ll also be using geospatial coordinates to locate callers.

"The optimal result is when someone on the reservation makes a 911 call, the call is received and dispatched to the local police district that is nearby so that we can get all the available resources to that individual," Billison said. 

Right now, the tribe estimates that about 60 percent of homes do not have a landline and only half of the reservation has wireless coverage.