March 25, 1998
George M. Kilgore Director, Fentress County 911 Courthouse Square P.O. Box 339 Allardt, Tennessee 38504-0339
In Re: 911 Compliance Review
Dear Mr. Kilgore:
This letter is in regard to our compliance review of the Fentress County 911 Center under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12131-12134. Title II prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in the services, programs, or activities of State and local governments.
The County 911 Center, as the creation of the County government of Fentress County, is an instrumentality of a local government and thus a public entity subject to the requirements of Title II and its implementing regulation. 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 35.104. Section 35.162 of the regulation requires that telephone emergency services provide direct access to individuals who use a TDD for telephone communications.
As you will recall, on August 27, 1997, my office conducted a site visit to your facility, and met with you and Marilyn Stephens, Assistant Director, at the 911 facility. The Fentress County 911 Center was found to be a primary dispatch center, answering all 911 calls originating in Fentress County. The center has one call-taking console, staffed on rotating shifts. The sole console is equipped with a stand-alone TDD, located adjacent to the 911 phone for ready access. The operator can move George M. Kilgore from voice to TDD mode during the same call and can also call back using a TDD. The same ANI/ALI service is provided for all callers, including TDD users. No time delay was reported in switching from voice to TDD and back again.
You were very candid on our visit, and reported that, while you have had the TDD since 1990, it was not properly installed and operating until recently, in response to our July 1, 1997 letter and questionnaire. You reported that this spurred the center to correct the situation, and now all silent calls are checked for the potential of being TDD calls.
All emergency services are dispatched from this center, thus there is no transfer to other emergency facilities. There is a regular maintenance check done on the equipment, including monthly tests for the TDD. You reported that the entire system is due to be replaced in 2000. The center's operators undergo the state-approved 40-hour training course, which includes a block of instruction on the TDD. You also reported that you have now implemented a policy of refresher courses every six months.
Because of the foregoing, and your efforts to correct the deficiencies that existed prior to our review, we have no serious concerns regarding the level of access that the 911 system has now provided for individuals who use TDD's. Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this matter. If you have any further questions regarding this matter, do not hesitate to call me at (615) 736-5151.
JOHN M. ROBERTS
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
______________________________ Date: ____________________
By: MICHAEL L. RODEN
Assistant U.S. Attorney
cc: Ryan E. Warren
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738