ATHENS-CLARK COUNTY, Ga (CBS46) -- When it comes to an emergency – seconds count.

That’s why a local police station is using new technology to help find you when you call 911.

Officials at the Athens-Clark County Control Center say it helps them find you quicker and more accurately in case of an emergency.

“We implemented RapidSOS, it’s a supplemental location technology for our 911 center.  So we’re not replacing cell phone technology, we’re just adding to it to help get location information for callers,” said Jonathan Jones, the 911 Operations Coordinator with the Athens-Clark County Police Department. “It takes supplemental data from cell phones, it uses the sensors on your phone, blue tooth, it uses every available sensor on your phone and gives a better location to the 911 center.”

The Athens-Clark County police department is the first in this area to use RapidSOS, but it's growing in popularity.

“Getting the right resources to the right people at the right time, the first thing we’ve got to have is location, so if we don’t have location information, it makes our job that much harder to get that help to them,” added Jones.

The goal is to speed up response time.

“If they have to search the whole house, we can be more precise, we can be like they’re in the back of the house, or the south side of the house,” said Kevin Zapata , the Master Communication Officer with the Athens-Clark County Police Department, “Before, with our old technology, it was about a few meters, anywhere from 5 to 10 to sometimes 100 meters, and this is within a couple feet.”

They’ve already seen several success stories.

“Somebody was in a vehicle and they were having a dispute with someone else in the vehicle, the operator who took that call was using RapidSOS, and they found it was updating much faster than the cell phone.  So because of that, they were able to get officers to make contact with the vehicle,” Jones said.

It will also help with ridesharing -- if you don’t know the vehicle you’re in, or you’re scared to talk.

“Uber and RapidSOS have worked together to provide information on trip details, so if you’re in an Uber and you call 911, electronically we will get the vehicle make, model, and tag number, and that’s a huge benefit for someone in an Uber, that has an emergency.” Jones added, “In an emergency, seconds count, as everybody knows, and this is cutting off seconds on getting us location information.”

Athens police say they hope this new technology helps them better serve their community.


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