Kansas City mayor vows to solve city’s 911 problem: ‘Everything’s on the table.’
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas called current wait times “unacceptable” and “horrifying.” He said plans to propose changes at the next Board of Commissioners meeting.
“Maybe it’s changing who’s answering the calls and what agency does that and who’s getting paid to do it,” Lucas said. “Right now, all of our 911 dispatch starts with the Kansas City Police Department. Should we do that through fire or some other service? Because frankly, everything’s on the table.”
Lucas also discussed how technology could possibly ease hold times.
Right now, people call and first hear an automated message and wait. Newly released May data showed people waited an average of a full minute before they connect with a real person.
Lucas said he’s been in talks with Honeywell about a system that would allow callers to select between Fire, EMS and Police.
“Kansas City needs to fix it quickly. There are other cities that have figured it out,” Lucas said.
Kansas City’s hold time for emergency calls is outside of nationwide standards.
In May, only 40.76 percent of calls were answered within 15 seconds. The goal is 90 percent.
Forty-five percent of calls were answered within 20 seconds. The goal is 95 percent.
Kansas City’s data is reflected in red on the Mid- America Regional Council page while neighboring departments have their data in blue indicating they meet the goals. You can check your department here.
KCTV5 has learned that in just May, 7,940 calls sat in the queue for five minutes or even longer. That means people needing help listened to an automated message encouraging them to hold.
“We should not just be waiting for a long-term solution. We can’t shrug our shoulders and say maybe it’ll get fixed at some point. It is something that frankly, is an emergency, and it is a true emergency in every way,” said Lucas.
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