By Erin Jones

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Long wait times and in some cases, no response when calling 911 has once again become a major problem within the City of Dallas.

After receiving severe scrutiny from city leaders and residents, on Monday night, June 28, Dallas 911 gave an update on the situation.

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Earlier this month, it was taking an average of 13 seconds for a 911 call to get answered in the City of Dallas. That’s more of twice as long as it took the same time last year.

Dallas 911’s Communications Administrator says this was a direct result of staffing shortages.

Out of 110 authorized call taker positions, 26 are currently vacant.

“We’ve taken some immediate steps to correct our issues,” 911 Communications Administrator Robert Uribe said.

In the short term, supervisors and staff have trained current employees pulled from other jobs to temporarily fill the void and hopefully, fix the problems.

“This past week we hit an all time low of answering all 911 calls, or over 90% of the 911 calls, in under 5 seconds,” Uribe said.

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The 911 call center is now working to fill permanent call taker positions and for the first time since the pandemic began, will be hosting in-person recruiting events next month.

With the shortage of call takers extending across DFW, Uribe said his department has taken steps to be competitive in the hiring process.

“We’re definitely going to be putting our best foot forward,” he said. “We will be offering over $40,000 as a introductory salary.”

Benefits include *paid vacations, *holidays, *medical and life insurance, a *pension.. and *$3,000 bonus.

Hiring incentives are something Fort Worth is also currently offering. After reporting they too are experiencing a 911 call taker shortage, they’re offering $600 upon being hired, $200 after six months and another $200 after one year.

(Originally Posted June 28, 2021)

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Erin Jones