App to Fix Issue of 911 Cellphone Calls in Oakland Routing to CHP in Vallejo: Report

Cellphone users in Oakland who dial 911 are routed to the California Highway Patrol in Vallejo — unless they pay to subscribe to a new app to connect to the Oakland Police Department.

East Bay Express reports a new app called BlueLight that activates in February will charge users $20 per year so that when dialing 911 in Oakland, the call will go to the OPD complete with their geographic location instead of out to Vallejo.

An OPD spokesman told the publication that the department is not associated with BlueLight, and a strategic report issued by the company noted that the 911 system is not due to be upgraded to correct the cellphone issue for four years.

"While we’d love to provide our service for free, we need to keep the lights on," the company wrote in a story posted to Medium as a response to critics concerned about charging for better 911 access. "To make sure your call never fails, we maintain enormous server space in multiple locations across the country, overlapping to ensure our service is robust and failsafe. We also pay up to $10/call for E911 calls from BlueLight Places. It’s the right thing to do — but not free."

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