Emergency Phones
May 12, 2011, 8:06 PM
Filed under: Downtown

May 12, 2011

A proposal for ten emergency phones along the Federal Highway Corridor is finally in the works, just three years after Police Chief Chad Wagner announced this safety feature at a meeting of the Royal Poinciana and Parkside Task Force in 2008. With a June 3, 2011 deadline for submittal of bids from qualified electrical contractors, the City has now specified the following locations to receive emergency phones:

N. 20 Ave/Scott St.
N. 20 Ave/Garfield St.
N. Fed. Hwy/Johnson St., south alley
N. 19 Ave/Lincoln St., south alley
N. 19 Ave/Taylor St.
S. Fed. Hwy/Funston St.
S. 21 Ave./Plunkett St.
S. 20 Ave./ Van Buren St.
S. 19 Ave./ Monroe St., north alley
S. 21 Ave./Washington St.

Back in 2008, Chief Wagner said the first ten phones would be placed downtown, followed by 20 on the Federal Highway Corridor, and then later, on the beach and in other city neighborhoods. Plans have obviously changed in the intervening years, as the first ten are now slated for Federal Highway.

Chief Wagner described the phones as follows in his 2008 announcement:

“The Emergency phone will be used if you are in fear, need immediate assistance or if you witness an in-progress incident. The phone will not be used to receive information or to call a cab. Simply press the call button and you will talk directly to our Communications Center. The Emergency phone will also be equipped with a Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ Camera) so Police personnel can identify a suspect or suspects and provide valuable information to responding units. An additional camera will identify those who vandalize the equipment or make crank calls to the Police Department.”

“The phones will be on a free standing pedestal (approximately 8’3″) and will be easily identifiable with reflective paint in the Police Department’s black and white color scheme. A blue light will be affixed on top of the phone, making it clearly identifiable as a Police Department device at night.”

“The Emergency phone can also be used as a Public Address system for distances from 500-1000 feet. This application will be useful on the beach to notify persons of a missing child (Amber Alert) or an evacuation.”

Commissioner Blattner is one to thank for jump-starting the long-promised but ever-absent phones. And Mayor Bober joined him in requesting staff to get the project moving. Last but far from least, the citizen-based New Image Task Force is the impetus for most of the attention being paid to the Federal Highway Corridor these days. To all involved in resuscitating the corridor phones, we say thank you. If there are 20 more, as announced in 2008, the beach, downtown, and other neighborhoods are all in line.

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