LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A new system put in place for the Little Rock 911 dispatch center is looking to improve the quality of the calls, protocols and call accountability.
Although this new system will not be addressing what many in Little Rock have been worried about, their calls not getting answered.
“Answer the phone right away, it shouldn’t take more than just one second to answer the phone,” Jeff Hill, whose call wasn’t answered, said.
Jeff Davis and his wife said they had to wait over 30 minutes on the phone before talking with anyone from the Little Rock Call Center.
The call center has been plagued by staffing issues over the last year, resulting in phone lines ringing, and nobody on the other end to answer in a crisis.
“I’m kind of afraid to call now,” Davis said.
“No one is purposely not answering the phone, it could very well be their family members, so there isn’t any spite on which calls to answer,” 911 Communications Director Juana Green said.
Green said of the almost 50 spots open for call takers and dispatchers, more than 30 of those have been filled.
Grace Hill said she was in a crisis once when she called 911.
There was nobody on the other line, so she decided to join the team.
“I called a few more times after that, no answer, so I was like okay something’s got to be done and I was like I could’ve been the person taking that call,” Hill said.
Juana Green said while they are working to improve staffing to get more people to answer the phone, what they are doing right now is putting into place a new protocol system that will make calls quicker and improve better quality.
Although, Green said she still asks the community to be patient as they are trying to improve their call times.
“I can have every seat in the house filled and still be outnumbered by callers,” Green said. “This has nothing to do with wait time, for the caller but it does improve on the information that we are collecting so now we can get you the proper response you need for the nature of your call.”
Green said they have 11 people that are doing on-the-floor training currently, and 15 people will begin in-classroom training Monday, which Juana said will put them close to being fully staffed.