Public-safety systems pose Y2K question mark

State and local governments on average know very little about the Year 2000 status of 911 call centers and law enforcement systems, but outreach efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Justice Department are extensive, according to a recent audit.

At a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives' Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, General Accounting Office officials said crucial public-safety systems are a big question mark when it comes to Year 2000 compliance.

That uncertainty is especially troubling given the student shooting in Littleton, Colo., said committee chairman Rep. Robert Bennett (R-Utah). "The events in Littleton last week stand as a sad and tragic reminder of the importance of our topic today," he said at the hearing yesterday. "Law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and local level rely on a wide variety of criminal information databases in order to safely and effectively do their jobs everyday."

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