Family of murdered woman pushes for changes to dial 911

AUSTIN -- On Wednesday, members of the Commission on State Emergency Communications met in downtown Austin to look at ways to improve 911 systems.

During the meeting, the father of a murdered woman spoke about the importance of being able to dial 911 directly in a hotel room, school, office or hospital.

In December 2013, 31-year-old Kari Hunt was attacked in her hotel room in Marshall, Texas.

Police say her estranged husband killed her while their 9-year-old daughter tried to call police.

However she couldn't get through to a 911 operator because the hotel phone required dialing a "9" to reach an outside line, including 911.

Now Kari's father, Hank, and the rest of her family are working to change state laws so all phones are programmed to dial 911 without requiring dialing an outside line.

Hunt's father Hank says it's not what happened to Kari but what happened during the attack that has them pushing for statewide change.

"It was the look on my granddaughter's face when we failed her. When a 9-year-old does what she's instructed to do by her parents, teachers adults, and she was in a true, dire emergency and followed instructions, it didn't happen."

The online petition for Kari's Law has nearly half a million signatures.

MLTS, or multiline telephone systems, are common in most schools, hospitals, office buildings and hotels.

They typically require dialing a 9 or 1 to reach a number outside the system, but Kari's Law would require that all businesses or schools upgrade their phone software to dial 911 directly.

Kari's family hopes the law will pass when the legislature meets at the Texas Capitol again in 2015.

A similar law has already passed in Illinois.


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