The Stephenville Police Department is notifying business owners about a new law requiring owners of multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) in Texas to provide direct-dial access to 9-1-1 without having to dial an additional digit such as 9 first before getting an outside line.
Providers of multi-line telephone systems have until Sept. 1 to comply. Senate Bill 788, also known as Kari’s Law, was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 15, 2015.
The law represents a culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the murder of Kari Hunt in a motel room in Marshall where she was attacked by her estranged husband.
Kari’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 9-1-1 for help four times from the motel room phone, but the call never went through because she did not know to first dial “9” for an outbound line before dialing 9-1-1.
Tragically, Kari died before help could arrive.
Since Kari’s death, her father Hank Hunt and his family have made it their mission to educate the public and elected officials across the country about the need to change multi-line phone systems to provide direct access to 9-1-1.
“Seconds count, and when a nine-year-old little girl is mature and brave enough to attempt to dial 9-1-1 for help, she should be answered,” Hunt told lawmakers.
Business owners should contact their MLTS provider to learn if their phone system is compliant. Some new phone systems need to be reprogrammed (not replaced) and costs, if any, should be minimal.