ATLANTA – Gov. Nathan Deal has done nothing with the 17 major recommendations issued by a commission appointed to help fix problems with 911.
As the 11Alive Investigators showed, 911 can't always find those in emergencies.
In 2012, Gov. Deal appointed 11 members to a 911 modernization commission.
Late last year, Shannell Anderson spent her last breaths trying to help dispatchers find her sinking SUV after she drove into a pond.
Gov. Deal would not sit down with the 11Alive investigators to talk about the death of one of his constituents. So 11Alive's Brendan Keefe caught up with him at a news conference about an impending ice stor -- a time when other Georgia residents could be calling for help from their cars.
"911 is usually an after the fact notification," Deal said. "We want people to be aware of what is anticipated before the fact."
Shanell's mother, Jacquene Curlee. wants Gov. Deal to act on the 99-page report produced by his own 911 modernization commission.
"What if one of his grandchildren dials 911, they're going to get the exact same service that my daughter got," Curlee said. "Would he do something then if it was his grandchild? Probably so."
Among the recommendations the panel called for:
- Statewide audits of the phone companies.
- The repeal of the Georgia law that allows those phone companies to bill 911 centers for millions of dollars in 911 fees.
- The creation of a state emergency communications board
11Alive's Brendan Keefe: "Your commission recommended that there be a state agency that oversees 911. Are you in favor of that?"
Gov. Nathan Deal: "Well I haven't made a decision on that…I think we have supervision in terms of trying to coordinate activities."
There is no Georgia agency with the authority to create or enforce statewide standards for 911. A permanent 911 advisory committee mandated by Georgia law hasn't met in years.
The governor's temporary commission laid out serious problems with 911, but rather than acting on those proposed solutions, the governor is leaving the fix to the cell phone companies.
"Those are things that are legitimate concerns and things that I think the industry is also working with local jurisdictions to try and straighten that out," Deal said.
That's not enough for Jacquene Curlee.
"Right now there's zero accountability," she said. "Each county is their own accountability, nobody checks on them to make sure the system is working properly. The cell phone industry spends all their money to make sure nobody checks on them because they don't want anybody to know what they're doing. And the FCC says we're doing the best we can. Well none of that is good enough."
The Georgia Legislature is currently in session, but there are no pending bills that would address the state's lack of oversight, or the 911 funding issues that send millions of your tax dollars to the phone companies every year.