The Columbus-Platte County Joint Communications Center (JCC) is not aware of 911 service being an issue in Platte or Polk counties overnight Thursday, according to JCC Director Rachel Pensick.
Several counties in Nebraska did lose 911 service on Thursday night, Aug. 31, 2023, according to various reports. Among them included some of the state’s largest counties, including Douglas, Sarpy, Hall, Buffalo and Dodge.
“But we were never down to my knowledge,” Pensick said on Sept. 1, 2023.
Pensick said the local JCC began receiving reports of possible 911 line outages across the state Thursday evening, but their systems never indicated they weren’t working properly. As a precaution, Columbus-Platte County JCC officials began making 911 calls to test the JCC’s system every 15 minutes and all the calls came through successfully. Local officials continued with those tests throughout the night and never had an issue. All the calls came in with no problem, Pensick said.
The issue did prompt many state leaders and organizations to make statements through social media.
“Regional 911 system failures have occurred this evening across the state. Emergency officials are working to address the issue and are in close contact with providers to resolve it …” Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen said, in an online statement. “Please only dial 911 if you have a true emergency.”
The Nebraska State Patrol also commented on social media, reminding residents of other avenues to reach them.
“Several counties’ 911 systems are having issues at this time,” NSP wrote. “They report that their non-emergency lines are functioning and are available in the event of an emergency. You can also call *55 statewide to reach NSP Dispatch.
The City of Grand Island shared a press release that stated, “This morning we are still learning more about what caused this incident. Gratefully our lines have been restored and we remind everyone to use 911 only in an emergency. Please don’t test 911 and take up valuable lines from those who are in a true need.”
Pensick said she heard a report of a fiber optic line being cut in the area that caused the outage, but that she would be contacting the Nebraska Public Service Commission to learn more about what happened.
Service for 911 calls was restored Friday morning for several Nebraska counties, according to several published state media reports.
The Columbus-Platte County JCC is at 1304 Bill Babka Drive. Its non-emergency line is 402-564-3201.
The Columbus-Platte County Joint Communications Center serves as a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for Platte and Polk counties. All Platte and Polk County 9-1-1 phone calls are routed to the Columbus PSAP. The Communications Center also answers administrative phone lines for the Columbus Police Department, Platte County Sheriff’s Office and Polk County Sheriff’s Office. The Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.