Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dulles South Safety Center Requests Used Cell Phones

Dulles South Residents Asked to Help Secure the Call for Domestic Violence

The Dulles South Public Safety Center is the latest location for residents to drop off old or unwanted cell phones and help secure the call for victims of domestic violence. The program, a joint effort between the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and the Victim/Witness Program in the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, collects old cell phones and converts them into emergency service phones. The phones are then handed out to victims of domestic violence by the Loudoun County Victim/Witness Program.

Victims will not only be able to use the phone to dial 911 but it is also programmed to call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline, which provides crisis intervention and support. The victims who have received the phones may not have been otherwise able to obtain a cell phone and are now able to call 911 in an emergency. "In some cases spouses take away the victims access to a phone," says Loudoun Sheriff Steve Simpson. "They may have physically removed the cell phone from the victim or canceled the service altogether and that is where we come in", he added.

The organization Secure the Call, a non-profit group in Maryland, assists in the collection effort and performs the work necessary on behalf of the agencies. The old cell phones are reprogrammed by the non-profit organization to only dial 911 even if it is not part of a wireless carrier's network.

Approximately 70 percent of the phones collected through the program will be donated to participating agencies so that they may be given to the people that need them. The other 30 percent will be sold to the recycled phones market to pay for the reprogramming of the donated phones.

(Thanks for the heads-up on this, DullesSouthNet Yahoo Group!)

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