Some, but not all, cell phone calls can be triangulated

MALONE – Franklin County’s E-911 office can figure out where people are with most cell phone calls, but not all of them yet.

In 2012, the number of calls from cellular phones to 911 started to eclipse the number of calls from landlines, according to county Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost and Deputy Director John Bashaw, who gave a report on the 2012 volume of 911 calls at last week’s county board meeting.

Legislator Paul Maroun, R-Tupper Lake, asked what the county’s capacity is for triangulating cell phone calls.

Bashaw said that they can with all but one carrier, AT&T. He said the 911 equipment needs three surrounding towers to figure out someone’s location, but there aren’t enough AT&T towers in most of the area to do that yet.

He noted that once calls get into the Adirondack Mountains, it gets tougher to triangulate with any cell service because there are fewer towers nearby.

Maroun said if he talks to AT&T representatives, he would likely ask for more towers. He noted that the company turned on a new tower in the Sevey’s Corners area outside Piercefield last year.

Legislator Gordy Crossman, D-Malone, asked if there are any plans for new towers in Duane.

“That’s up to the APA (state Adirondack Park Agency),” Bashaw said. “They seem to stifle everything that goes on.”

Provost said he wasn’t aware of any plans for a new tower in Duane. He noted that one was erected recently, but it’s too short to reach very far, and he recently wrote a letter to support increasing its height.

“It’s ridiculous,” Crossman said. “They’re going to wait until somebody dies.”

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or