N4T Investigators: 911, Please Hold – Update

N4T Investigators: 911, Please Hold – Update


a lot of Tucson 911 callers are still waiting several minutes to talk to police but the numbers have drastically improved news for Tucson Sam Saul swale has an update now on the public safety problem that we’ve been tracking since the last year if you call 911 Tucson the person who answers the phone probably won’t help the way you want the call is usually transferred to police or fire at the end of 2017 the city started an ambitious consolidation plan to eliminate that transfer the wait times aren’t as bad but the latest numbers show it’s still going to be a long time before they stop transferring calls when we call 9-1-1 we need help and then when it doesn’t come or you put on hold it’s very frustrating I never expected to to get into a queue that was last year the new Sports Tucson investigators broke the story that 911 callers were waiting a dangerously long time for police to even answer the phone the most dangerous 1% of calls are put in a priority queue now those calls are answered almost immediately but the lower priority calls have been the bigger problem in April 2018 32% of callers were waiting more than 1 minute now they’re a lot better in July of this year only 16% of callers are waiting more than 30 seconds angel Spencer is an administrator at the public safety communications department we are very satisfied with the current numbers and the performance increase that we have experienced over the past year and a half by no means is this where we really want to be still there are still potentially dangerous calls holding more than six minutes in April a domestic violence call an argument between a wife and husband waited 6 minutes and 38 seconds more recently in June a trespassing call took six minutes in 27 seconds to answer every single call that comes in through the 911 phone system can ultimately or could ultimately or potentially rather escalate all the employees are supposed to get cross trained so the call taker can answer the phone and deal with police and fire emergencies but the number of transfers is not decreasing if you compare January 2018 in January 2019 27,500 17 calls were transferred in January 2018 28,000 268 calls were transferred in January of the next year that’s only a 2.7 percent change in calls transferred every month when 2018 and 2019 are compared there’s little change in the number of calls transferred in July comparing 2018 and 2019 there is only a 1.5 percent change the plan is to eliminate the transfer but that’s not happening our cross training is just not where it is it needs to be yet this takes time for a new hire it’s about seven months of training the wait times are better but the department’s still pursuing the goal of consolidation a year from now it’s gonna look a lot more the way that it’s supposed to look in regards to efficiencies the department is still hiring as fast as they can train new employees the latest round of applications just closed this week if you have a story you’d like us to investigate email investigators at koat.com or call 955 for 444 investigating for you Sam Sol’s WADL news for Tucson

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