FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2003
Washington, D.C. – Police departments and sheriff’s offices from Maryland, Virginia and the District have formed a coalition to help collect cell phones to be converted into 911 emergency service phones.
The program is called Secure the Call and is being lead by a non-profit organization by the same name based in Greenbelt, Md. Government departments in these areas have been distributing emergency service phones to the public, but they have not been able to meet the demand. In most cases, these departments are not equipped to undertake the work necessary to convert the phones. Secure the Call
will be coordinating the collection effort and will be performing the work necessary on behalf of these departments.
Any used cell phone can be programmed to dial 911 even if it is not part of a wireless carrier’s network. Groups that need such phones include local police departments, neighborhood watch groups, senior citizen centers and domestic violence organizations.
Approximately 70 percent of the phones collected through the program will be donated to members of the coalition so that they may be given to the people that need them. The other 30 percent will be sold to the recycled phones market to pay for the reprogramming of the donated phones.
“Community policing works best when we have an active and engaged community that works closely with the police,” said D.C. Metro Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. “Secure the Call will help make these partnerships happen.”
A website (www.givecellphones.com) is available with more information on Secure the Call. Secure the Call may also be contacted at (301) 891-2900 for more information.