Reporting Steve Pickett
DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – After sweeping changes to the Dallas 911 Communications Center, calls for help should ring no more than two times before being answered, according to the Dallas Police Department.
“The thing really significant is in two rings, someone will pick up the phone or recording saying don’t hang up, you’ve got the 911 call center,” says J.S. Walton with DPD.
Problems with the system were first exposed last July when residents calling to report a house fire said they could not get through to call for firefighters. In another high profile incident, a woman’s desperate call for help was delayed by an operator, even though she indicated that someone was breaking into her home and assaulting her as she made the call. Deanna Cook was found dead in her home days later. Her estranged husband is now charged with her murder.
Since then, DPD says it’s added staff and made other changes to its 911 Communications Operations. Forty-five new call takers have been hired to the staff and more 911 supervisors are on the job. DPD now says 95-percent of all 911 calls are being answered within ten seconds.
For life threatening calls to 911, police have also created a new top priority designation for dispatchers.
“The department’s goal is to have somebody there within eight minutes, from the time the dispatcher gets it, to the officer arrives,” says Walton.
In February 2013, about 138,000 calls came into Dallas’ 911 center and 95% of them were answered within ten seconds, according to police.
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