Las Vegas police say 911 hold times have decreased significantly as staffing, call volumes improve
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Up to 10 minutes - that’s how long 911 callers were waiting for someone to pick up the phone back in July, according to Las Vegas Metro Police.
However, that number has dropped significantly in recent months.
“Now the average wait time is right about two minutes, just under three minutes, which is amazing. And then our average answer time is about five seconds,” said Metro Communications Bureau Capt. Jose Hernandez.
In August, the longest 911 hold time was 4 minutes 49 seconds. In September, it was 2 minutes 55 seconds.
“And as we research those calls, we’ve found that it’s typically two or three calls that go that high,” said Capt. Hernandez, “but for the majority, for 90% of those calls, they’re answered well within 15 seconds.”
Back in July, Metro said the long delays were due to more calls and less call-takers.
According to Metro, call volumes have decreased slightly in recent months, from about 192,000 total dispatched 911 calls in July, down to 161,000 calls in September.
And staffing numbers are changing, too.
In late July, staffing at the call center was at about 50 percent, so the department ramped up recruiting efforts, even lowering the typing speed requirement to attract more applicants.
“Historically, it was 45 words per minutes, a little bit higher, and so what we find was that was really challenging for some people,” said Capt. Hernandez. “Bringing them down to 35 words per minute not only helped us increase the pool significantly, but we’ve also implemented some typing strategies to help them improve along the way.”
The latest class of call takers and dispatchers is still finishing up their hands-on training, but they’re already answering calls with a supervisor, which Hernandez said has helped lower the hold times.
“Every night can be a very heavy night in terms of call volume,” he said, “so now it’s really just a matter of being strategic about staffing, taking a look at what our call volume looked like the week before, identifying those hours where we need additional staffing.”
Hernandez said hold times for non-emergency 311 calls are down as well, from three to four hours maximum hold times in July to about an hour wait in September.
And with the largest ever class of 50 call-takers and dispatchers set to graduate from the training academy this month, Metro hopes their call times will improve even more.
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