Dallas’s 911 system hit the headlines last summer with two high-profile stories. In one, a family lost its home. In another, a woman lost her life. In both cases, the families claim delays by Dallas dispatchers are to blame.
Monday, Dallas police said those problems are being fixed.
5. Two-Ring Standard
The department has established a ‘two-ring standard.’ During a July 4th, 2012 fire, at least seven callers hung up before they got an answer. Now, they should either get a dispatcher or a recorded message within two rings. The message tells callers to not hang up.
4. Increased Staffing
Dallas has hired 45 911 call-takers since September 1st, 2012. Now, it says it’s fully staffed with more than 90 people working the phones.
That staff is getting paid better, too. The city adjusted salaries to be more competitive
3. New Leadership
All the commanders were transferred out of dispatch, and there’s a totally new team at the top.
2. New Call Classifications
After the August 17th, 2012 murder of Deanna Cook, the dispatcher who took the call was accused of not getting the officers in the field the information they needed. These new classifications are meant to keep that from happening again.
1. New Performance Goal
All calls should be answered within ten seconds. In February, dispatchers met that goal 95.87% of the time. The average call was answered in two seconds. That’s down from 15 seconds in September.
With those numbers, sure, things are looking up. Still, police chief David Brown said the real test will come once things get busy, once again, this summer.