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Bal Harbour considering removal of ‘code blue’ 9-1-1 phones on beach walk


Special to the Miami Herald

Bal Harbour could remove “code blue” emergency phones from the beach walk.

At its meeting Tuesday, the council will be presented with a resolution calling for the removal of eight emergency phones located on the village’s beach walk. The equipment was installed back in 2005 but has become damaged and obsolete through the years, says recently-hired Police Chief Mark Overton.

“The wires keep getting damaged, and there are false phone calls to the station because of its malfunction. The devices haven’t been maintained,” he said in a phone interview. “The proximity of the phones to the beach has damaged it.”

The phones are located on Bal Harbour’s beach walk behind the hotels. When used, the phones link to Miami-Dade County’s 9-1-1 system.

Overton said that the phones would be costly to refurbish. He said that it could cost roughly about $27,000 to get them to function and about $60,000 to renew the devices, while removing the phones would only cost $7,000. If the phones are renewed or fixed, there would be an additional fee for maintenance.

He also added that the emergency phones could be a liability, as there has been a device that has made automatic calls to the station on its own because of wire damage. Plus, the addition of cellphone technology has made the equipment a relic of the past, he explained.

“In our records, we have had one legitimate call that was used to call police — it was a disturbance call,” he said. “In the modern age, more people have cellphones. These devices have become obsolete.”

Instead of investing in the emergency phones, Overton said he would like to use the funds for more police officers patrolling the area.

The council will get the resolution for approval at the village’s regular council meeting at village hall, 655 96th St., at 7 p.m. on Feb. 18.

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