Automated 911 answering system moves a step closer to reality

Published: Jun. 29, 2023 at 4:01 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Just two days after the Board of Police Commissioners asked for it, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) released its plan to initiate an automated 911 answering system in Kansas City.

MARC coordinates the 911 communications systems for the entire metro area. Earlier this week, the Board of Police Commissioners asked about an automated system for Kansas City.

The system would allow callers to select from options for police, fire, or emergency medical services. It’s believed that change would help cut the long wait times and get callers to a live person faster.

The board learned that the system used by MARC already has that capability.

This afternoon, MARC outlined a three-point action plan:

  • Testing — expected to take up to two weeks.
  • Analysis — presented to the regional public safety committee on July 12.
  • Action — auto-attendant could be approved during special meeting on July 13.

“Frankly, the solution is long overdue,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “It’s not for that I’m happy that we are making changes but, frankly, we need to have that done yesterday.”

The mayor said nearly everyone has a story about a 911 experience. He recently went public after his sister called 911 for help with their mother and waited on hold for nearly five minutes before connecting with a human.