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Investigation to Look Into City's 911 System

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The mayor has suspended an overhaul of the city's new 911 system, a project started under his predecessor that is riddled by delay and cost overruns, and a city investigation has started to look into the system as new calls surface that show a disturbing delay in response time. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Botched 911 calls have sounded alarms across the city, leading to alleged delays in response times, from a fire in the Rockaways in April to a fatal car crash on the Upper West Side, killing a 4-year-old girl.

Critics are now pointing to an emergency call from a nun at a burning convent on Staten Island back in October of 2013.

Dispatcher: Are you inside the location that's on fire?
Sister Denise Martin: Yes I am.
Dispatcher: OK ma'am. Tell me, Hylan Boulevard between what and what?

The questions go on over several calls as dispatchers try to decipher the convent's location.

Dispatcher: Hello, 911, where is your emergency?
Martin: Hi, I just called about a fire in our house.
Dispatcher: What is the address you gave when you called, ma'am?
Martin: 850 Hylan Boulevard, but I also need an ambulance. We have somebody that just jumped out, had to go out of a window.
Dispatcher: 857 Hylan Boulevard, this is on Staten Island?

Delays like these have spurred the mayor to suspend a massive overhaul of the 911 system, a controversial project started under the Bloomberg administration in 2005. It's been riddled by delay and is about $1 billion over budget. The entire project is now the subject of a city investigation.

"I think it's premature now to tell whether we are going to find incompetence, misconduct or some kind of criminal activity," said Mark Peters, commissioner of the Department of Investigation.

Peters said the probe just started on Monday, but it's wide-ranging.

"We submitted a request to City Hall for some of the beginning documents that we will need to look at to do the independent review," Peters said.

After the hearing, Peters suggested the 911 overhaul could go the way of another Bloomberg-era project.

"Over the past decade, the city has not managed large technology contracts as well as it could," he said.

Currently, there is no timeline for the Department of Investigation's probe, but the commissioner said he hopes to finish as soon as possible.

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