Inside Detroit’s 911 Call Center

I was watching the news last night when an interesting story about Detroit’s 911 call center came on. The following was taken from myfoxdetroit.com:

Inside Detroit’s 911 Call Center

By SIMON SHAYKHET
myFOXDetroit.com

DETROIT – Most people will never get to see the inside of the Detroit 911 call center. So, what really happens when you call 911 from your phone? We’re asking the tough questions.

It can feel like a roller coaster. Thousands of calls for help pouring in every day.

“In 45 minutes, I’ve gotten a hundred calls,” said Annette Day.

She is one of the best. Day is also one of 16 to 20 working during a typical shift at the call center, which averages 1.7-million calls each year.

“I believe we have made several improvements over the past couple years, and we’ll continue to,” said Detroit Police Commander Russell Decrease.

The improvements, such as quality monitoring, come at a time of tough criticism; citizen reports of hour long waits and being placed on hold.

However, ask these workers and you get a different story. Their numbers show only 30-percent of the calls they get are actual emergencies. As for the rest…

“Of those 70-percent, over half of them are prank calls,” Decrease said.

Also, factor in the false alarms coming from businesses. Then consider a call on a stolen car competing with danger to human life.

“Every time another run comes in where somebody’s life or safety is in danger, that run is going to wait longer,” said Decrease. “If somebody gets the recording, they will hang up. When they hang up, they don’t realize that they instantly go to the back of the line again.”

“We do care about them. We are working hard here to help service them and get them the help they need,” Day said.

However, she admits they need more hands on deck.

“We don’t have enough operators. We don’t have enough police or EMS (techs),” said Day.

The city is hiring 15 more operators this month. They still claim a two to three minute dispatch time for life threatening calls, and less than ten minutes from that to a unit on scene anywhere.

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