Non emergency calls increasing delay in response times, Atlanta 911 dispatch center says

ATLANTA — Atlanta 911 Dispatch Center is addressing response times after many complaints about delays when calling the 911 center. The department said a lot of times, those holdups are due to an increase of nonemergency calls.

Channel 2′s Larry Spruill obtained some of those nonemergency calls. One of them stated, “My wife lost her glasses and we need help finding them.”

Another call stated, “The red light is so long, it’s so infuriating, that it is a crime and I would like to press charges.”

E-911 Atlanta Director Desiree Arnold said these are just some of the calls the center receives on a daily basis.

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Another call recorded, “(Press charges on who?) I guess against the city, for kidnapping me and holding me hostage at that traffic light.”

“We are receiving calls that are not emergency in nature,” Arnold said. “These are calls where people don’t like something going on with them.”

E-911 received a call about an insurance policy, “I would like to talk to an officer about my insurance policy, that I have with State Farm.”

Arnold said these calls happen often and these non-urgent calls hinder crews from responding to real-life emergency calls.

“The domino effect is those people who are calling, who are in life-threatening situations, such as my house is on fire, someone is not breathing, there are gunshots, I’m being robbed or chased by someone, they’re, in essence, being placed on hold,” Arnold said.


Channel 2 Action News asked Arnold about the criticism they have received about emergency response times.

“Yes some of the issues are these calls,” Arnold said.

Arnold said the center receives about 3,000 calls a day.

“We would like to answer every since call at the point or receipt. It’s kind of difficult to answer each one at the time that we receive them,” Arnold said.

But Arnold said there are other factors, such as low staffing, which is why they’re hiring, but that’s not all.

“We’re updating our technology, we’re looking at bringing in a new phone system in November of this year,” Arnold said. “We’ll have a new phone system that will allow us to answer calls at the time of an emergency. We can place them in an emergency or nonemergency queue.”

Arnold said if it’s an emergency call, they can answer and get all of the relative information within two minutes. The national standard is to answer at least 90% of their calls within 15 seconds.

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