911 Staffing Problems Means It Takes Longer to Answer Your Call

This time the problem is in Colorado. When Seconds Count, 911 Calls Are Taking Minutes to Answer in Colorado Springs.

In an emergency, [Renee Henshaw, the city’s public safety communications manager] said she understands that 20 seconds, let alone a minute or two, can feel like an eternity, but she argues that the 911 center is doing the best it can with its limited staff. Despite hiring year-round, the center is down eight call-takers and eight dispatchers, she said.

Why? Because taking 911 calls is a tough business. (As one character said on a TV show, the people calling 911 are having the worst day of their life.)

To be fair, 911 operator is a tough sell. Henshaw is upfront about the list of cons, which read like a bad job description — constant stress, shift work, secondhand trauma, multitasking, and a certain aptitude for technology.

Employees have previously described taking stressful calls relating to suicide, unresponsive children, fatal accidents and even mass shootings. In 2016, Brianna Ragsdale recounted getting the call as admitted Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear was gunning people down in the parking lot.

And while I agree that such a job is not for everyone, better pay might help retention.


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