Dallas Leaders To Hear About 911 Center Improvements

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas City Council on Wednesday will learn what officials have been doing to fix the city’s troubled 911 call center. They will be briefed on the center’s most recent performance and the steps that are still being taken to improve its efficiency.

The current goal is to answer 90 percent of all Dallas emergency calls within just 10 seconds. The call center has fallen short of that goal several times in recent months. According to data through March 31, the average wait time this fiscal year has been 22 seconds. It was at 44 seconds in February, and peaked last month with an average of 57 seconds per call.

Two families said that the delays contributed to the deaths of their loved ones.

According to the presentation being given on Wednesday, the city has been averaging just 9 seconds over the last 30 days.

Officials still blame the call center’s system spikes on T-Mobile. The company determined that abandoned calls were not made by the identified caller. T-Mobile has since updated its network, and AT&T has increased the city’s capacity and connections to shorten call time.

No abnormal call spikes have been detected since these changes were made.

But the city continues to work on improving the 911 call center’s performance through increased staffing. There was a job fair recently to recruit more call takers. The city also streamlined its hiring procedures, shortening the background check process and the time to reapply.

Employee numbers had been steadily declining since October, but there are now hundreds of new applicants.

Plus, the city is upgrading the center to digital technology. The first phase of those improvements should be complete this fall.

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