Glitches reportedly continue to plague Tucson's new 911 system

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tucson's new 911 system is still stirring up controversy.  Many city officials claim the kinks are worked out, but the men and women who operate the system tell a different story.

"These dispatchers aren't calling me and lying, they're calling me in a state of frantic," said Ward 6 Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik.

Dispatchers are upset because the system they count on to help residents isn't working. Plus, the city says they aren't allowed to talk about it.

"They're stressed, frustrated and ticked." said Kozachik.  "They're ticked at not being able to stand up in front of guys like you and tell you what's going on."

One dispatcher, who did not want to be identified, said for 3 straight days work stations have gone off line and Tuesday, 3 stations went down at once.

"That means calls are going to have a long ring time or dropped, delayed, whatever. It's a serious issue," said Kozachik.

Qwest technicians reportedly continue to work out the problem inside the call center.

When questioned, Qwest issued the following statement:

We stand by our original statement.  We want to reiterate, public safety has not been jeopardized.

Councilman Steve Kozachik doesn't buy it, "The safety of the public is at risk anytime stations drop, and we cant keep playing this game."

Kozachik complains he's not getting straight answers from anyone.  Not at the city level, or even personnel at the Tucson Fire Department.  The only calls he's getting are from dispatchers on the front line.

"Four weeks later I'm still getting calls from people whose hands are on the system in front of these montiors. They're just not telling the truth," said Kozachik.

The city wants to stay tight-lipped to protect itself, insists Kozachik.  After reports that malfunctions with the system may have led to the death of a 10-year-old girl.

But the Ward 6 councilman says taxpayers deserve the truth.

"The city is circling the wagons trying to mitigate their legal liability," said Kozachik.  To me there is a  greater principle at stake and that greater principle simply is the safety of the public."

The council is set to tackle the 911 system issue next Tuesday, August 9 in study session.