Year 2000 Computing Challenge:

Status of Emergency and State and Local Law Enforcement Systems Is Still Unknown

T-AIMD-99-163: Published: Apr 29, 1999. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the: (1) impact of the year 2000 challenge on the nation's emergency and state and local law enforcement systems; and (2) Department of Justice (DOJ) and the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion efforts to facilitate remediation and contingency planning and to gauge the year 2000 readiness of these two important sectors.

GAO noted that: (1) limited information is available about the year 2000 status of 9-1-1 call answering sites throughout the nation, known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP); (2) the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in conjunction with the National Emergency Number Association has surveyed 4,300 primary PSAPs on their year 2000 readiness; however, as of April 1999, only 18 percent responded; (3) of those that did respond, only 16 percent reported that their systems were compliant; (4) however, the majority of the rest of the respondents reported that they will be compliant by 2000; (5) little is known about the status of state and local law enforcement agencies; (6) no assessment surveys have been conducted; (7) the Chairman of the working group focusing on law enforcement for the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion informed GAO that such an assessment would soon be initiated in cooperation with a follow-on FEMA assessment of emergency services; (8) outreach efforts by FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the National Emergency Number Association, and other organizations have been fairly extensive, ranging from the development of contingency planning guidance to the hosting of forums for the 9-1-1 community on meeting the year 2000 challenge; and (9) outreach efforts by DOJ generally have been targeted to raising awareness and, with the exception of the Bureau of Prisons, largely ad hoc in nature.

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