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OHIO BELL TO START TWO NEW WAYS TO DETER PUBLIC PHONE USE BY DRUG DEALERS

 OHIO BELL TO START TWO NEW WAYS
 TO DETER PUBLIC PHONE USE BY DRUG DEALERS
 CLEVELAND, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Ohio Bell and the City of Cleveland today announced two new methods to limit the use of public telephones for illegal purposes, such as the buying and selling of drugs.
 Ohio Bell will begin working with the City of Cleveland to identify public telephones that are being used for illegal purposes.
 The new methods are called Restricted Call Access and Pager Restriction. The new methods eventually will be available statewide to other communities served by Ohio Bell.
 Restricted Call Access makes it impossible to use coins to complete a call during designated hours of the late evening and early morning. Calls can be completed during these restricted hours by the use of calling cards, collect or third-party billing arrangements. Any call attempted during the restricted hours with the use of a coin would not be completed, and the change would be returned.
 Pager Restriction allows standard calls to be made. But once the call has been completed, it restricts the dialing of additional digits. This inhibits the use of pagers or voice mail systems.
 Customers will continue to have access to 4-1-1 information operators, 9-1-1 emergency services, "0" operators and 800 numbers from the public telephones.
 These new restrictions will be added to current methods being used by Ohio Bell to limit the use of its public telephones for illegal purposes: limiting telephones to one-way outgoing service only, which does not allow calls to be received at the site; replacing touch-tone phones with a rotary dial to limit use of digital pagers; and relocating telephones to locations less attractive to drug dealers.
 "In cooperation with the City of Cleveland, Ohio Bell has been testing these methods, as well as others, in an effort to determine which would be most effective," said Ray Klann, general manager of public communications at Ohio Bell. "These two new options will give Ohio Bell greater flexibility when working with city officials to deter the use of public telephones for illegal purposes.
 "Our concern for our communities is to not only be able to provide the kind of restrictions to combat illegal activities but to continue to provide reliable and safe telephone service for those community residents who depend entirely on those same public telephones as their only source of telephone service," he said.
 Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White said, "We don't usually think about the public-private partnership in the area of public safety, but this is another example where public and private sectors have worked together to address a serious problem.
 "Ohio Bell has been sensitive and responsive to the concerns that have been raised both by members of my administration and Cleveland City Council regarding the misuse of public telephones by drug dealers," White added. "We applaud Ohio Bell for its commitment to this city and its residents."
 Ward 17 Councilman Raymond L. Pianka said, "I commend Ohio Bell for joining City Council in its war on drugs. Clearly, this company cares about Cleveland and its neighborhoods.
 "Restricting the use of public phones used to buy and sell drugs brings us one step closer to combating the drug problem. With the help of Ohio Bell, we'll continue to fight," Pianka said.
 "Today we'll put restrictions on public phones on city property, and tomorrow we'll push to restrict public phones on private property," he added. "Perhaps, it's a small step, but one in the right direction. We'll keep fighting until we win back our communities."
 -0- 11/11/92
 /CONTACT: Keith Jameson of Ohio Bell, 216-822-4548, or Michele Bailey of The City Council of Cleveland, 216-664-4546/ CO: Ohio Bell ST: Ohio IN: TLS SU:


BM -- CL006 -- 9682 11/11/92 11:04 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 11, 1992
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