911 and Non-Emergency call answers Improved!

Did you need to call 911 or the police non-emergency line recently? Hopefully not, but if you did, you should have noticed faster handling of your call. Seven months ago, 911 calls were answered in 15-20 seconds on average. Now, 911 calls are answered in 3 seconds on average! And 93% of the time it’s under 10 seconds, which is better than the national standard (90%). Previously, the non-emergency line hold time was 15-35 minutes; now it’s averaging 4 minutes! These are some big improvements that the SDPD has worked hard to achieve!

What has changed? Captain Jerry Hara, SDPD Communications Director, described some of these changes and improvements at the last PB Town Council meeting:

One change is the “Phone Tree”. With over 140,000 calls coming in monthly, the Phone Tree directs calls to the right department quickly, freeing up valuable time for the dispatchers.

Other significant changes include the hiring of 36 new trainees in the communications department. It takes four months to train for the non-emergency line plus another five months for the 911 line. Also added were 12 floor supervisors for mentoring and coaching, Plus, 90 police officers have been trained to assist during peak times. These officers volunteer in their off-duty time.

How you can help:

  • When many 911 or non-emergency calls are coming in at the same time, you may have to wait longer because of higher priority calls. Please don’t hang up or you will loose your place in the queue.
  • If you call 911 by mistake, stay on the line and tell the dispatcher this is not an emergency and that you called by mistake. If you hang up, the dispatcher is required to call back to confirm whether or not it was not an emergency, which delays the dispatcher from handling other calls.
  • If you keep your phone in your back pocket, make sure the phone is off. This avoids a misdial or “butt call”. In a five-week period, SDPD received 12,000 of these calls!