Kansas City 911 calls reach longest wait time in years

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:03 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - If you call 911 in Kansas City, Missouri, in a crisis, you will wait an average of a full minute for someone to answer.

Hold times have been a consistent problem for Kansas City as it copes with high call volume and low staffing.

Wait times have been inching up. In April, people waited an average of 46 seconds. Newly released May data show the average is now a full minute.

Saturday, May 6, was the worst day of the month. People waited for an average of 1:39. Data shows a caller sat on hold for 16:24. On May 5, a person was on hold for 19:44.

KCTV5 has covered the hold issue for years as people give up on 911 and run to firehouses for help or drive seizing children to hospitals themselves. We’ve interviewed people who question if hold times mattered in the deaths of their loved ones.

Kansas City’s Mayor Quinton Lucas recently stepped forward about his own personal experience. His sister sat on hold for five minutes before she connected with a call taker. She had found their mother unresponsive in the front yard.

“No one should be waiting on hold when they call 911. Full stop. And that’s something that needs to change in Kansas City, whether it’s my mother, whether it’s anybody it is a terrifying experience,” Lucas said.

Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted that when his sister called 911 for their mother (left) on...
Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted that when his sister called 911 for their mother (left) on Wednesday, she waited on hold for five minutes.(Mayor Quinton Lucas)

KCTV5 submitted a sunshine request for 911 data from that day, May 24. The Lucas family’s call for help wasn’t even the most extreme hold time, just the most public.

At least six calls sat on hold for more than five minutes, ranging from 5:09 to 16:12.

If you have had a problem with KCMO 911, email us here at investigate@kctv5.com.