Texas ho­tel slay­ing in­spires push to man­date di­rect-dial 911

The Progress-Index Weekend - - LOCAL - By Jaime Du­n­away The As­so­ci­ated Press

DAL­LAS — A young girl’s re­peated attempts to dial 911 went unan­swered as her mother lay dy­ing from stab wounds in a Texas ho­tel room. She didn’t know she had to dial 9 first to get an out­side line.

Un­der a measure near­ing fi­nal ap­proval in Congress, busi­nesses would be re­quired to in­clude di­rect-dial 911 on any new tele­phone sys­tem they in­stall. That means there would be no need to dial an ac­cess code or ad­di­tional digit to reach emer­gency as­sis­tance.

“Kari’s Law” was named after Kari Hunt Dunn, who was slain in 2013 when her es­tranged hus­band stormed into her ho­tel room and stabbed her mul­ti­ple times while her chil­dren watched. The 9-year-old girl who tried four times to dial for help sat on her grand­fa­ther’s lap in the po­lice sta­tion after the at­tack, and he promised to find a way to sim­plify na­tion’s the 911 sys­tem.

“A lit­tle girl did what she was taught to do, and adults pre­vented her from do­ing it,” said Hank Hunt, the girl’s grand­fa­ther and Kari Hunt Dunn’s fa­ther.

The leg­is­la­tion Hunt has cham­pi­oned through Congress would amend the 1934 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Act to man­date both di­rect-dial 911 and soft­ware that au­to­mat­i­cally alerts first re­spon­ders and on­site per­son­nel. Both the House and Se­nate passed ver­sions of the bill this year without op­po­si­tion, but they both must ap­prove an iden­ti­cal ver­sion be­fore send­ing it to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

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