KCPD to address 911 operator shortage, as average emergency wait time nears 30 seconds

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 5:49 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Kansas City Police Board of Commissioners meets Tuesday morning as community members look to see how they handle the 911 operator shortage.

The agenda includes their monthly report, along with further talking about their 911 operator operations.

Callers in Kansas City are waiting an average of 27 seconds during emergency calls, according to the latest data from the Mid-America Regional Council. The longest wait time in December was more than 14 minutes.

It shows it was updated on January 4, and these numbers below are for the month of December.

  • Callers in Kansas City, MO are waiting an average of 53 seconds for all types of calls (emergency, non-emergency, or “other”)
  • Longest wait time was more than 52 minutes on Dec. 2. for all types of calls (emergency, non-emergency, or “other”)
  • Emergency Call Wait Time averages 27 seconds, with a max wait time call at 14 minutes

Going back to November of last year for emergency calls, the average wait time was 22 seconds, and the longest wait time was 17 minutes. The shortest max wait time in 2022 came in July with a nearly 8-minute call. The longest was in March when someone was on the waiting list for more than an hour.

The problem stems from a shortage of call-takers as we have previously reported. KCPD is operating with 31 fewer than they need.

The BOPC is looking to recruit and retain more people through alternative measures to their normal operations – getting rid of the marijuana drug test and offering a signing bonus. Dispatchers make $42,600 a year to start now but could add on an additional $5,000 with a signing bonus.

Police officers at the meeting last month told the board another reason for a shortage could be from lack of training before the interview process. They said several individuals come in and do great with the process – but then fail the fast–typing skills tests needed.