A widespread outage in the AT&T network knocked out all the phone lines at the Palo Alto Police Department on Friday afternoon, Sept. 15.
The lines were down for about five hours and service was restored at about 5:20 p.m., according to the city.
The department issued a notification shortly after noon that all of the phone lines, including 9-1-1 and its main non-emergency number, 650-326-2413, are not functioning. The department’s main phone line remained down throughout of the afternoon.
According to the city’s notification, anyone calling 9-1-1 for emergency assistance at this time saw their call get automatically switched to the Santa Clara County dispatch system. The county then transferred these calls to Palo Alto’s dispatch center through a dedicated phone line, according to the city.
The Mountain View Police Department also saw its phone lines go down as a result of the AT&T outage.
Police issued an update at about 5:25 p.m. saying the service is restored.
According to the city’s update, the outage was initially caused by an interruption in the AT&T phone network.
“Once that was re-established, there were other technical issues that still needed to be resolved on the Palo Alto side of the connection inside the dispatch center to fully restore service,” the update stated.
“Staff and vendors will be investigating the exact cause and what led to the prolonged outage, so that we can take the necessary steps of avoiding a similar situation in the future. This is the longest disruption to dispatch center phones in the memory of current staff members.”