updated 11/17/2003 12:24:15 AM ET 2003-11-17T05:24:15

Southern drawls have thwarted voice recognition equipment used by the Shreveport Police Department to route non-emergency calls.

A SWITCHOVER to a lower-tech, touch-tone system — in which callers hear a voice recording they can respond to by pressing a different number for each division — was scheduled for Monday, said spokeswoman Kacee Hargrave.

The voice-recognition system asked people to name the person or department they wanted. More often than not, the system just didn’t understand, and they wound up at the wrong place, said Capt. John Dunn, who oversees police communications.

“In Louisiana, we have a problem with Southern drawl and what I call lazy mouth. Because of that, the system often doesn’t recognize what (callers) say,” he said.

Interim Chief Mike Campbell knows all too well how frustrating the voice recognition system can be.

“I can count on one hand when I have been transferred to where I’ve wanted to go, and I know the system. I can imagine how frustrating it would be for a citizen,” he said.

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