Indianapolis 911 Has a Problem

They can’t get people to answer 911 calls. Marion County 911 hold times increasing as dispatcher salaries remain low.

The staffing levels at the 911 center are down 33 percent as workers leave the center at an alarming rate.

Officials believe the center has been seeing the turnover because dispatchers in Marion County are paid significantly lower than surrounding counties — and much less than other employees in the county.

But though this has been a problem for a while, the solution seems to elude politicians. (You know, pay the going-rate.)

Average hold times have gone from 12 seconds on average, to 27 seconds. Longest hold time was over 6 minutes. ON hold. They can’t send help before someone answers the call.

The difference in salary between one county and the next is staggering. As much as a 35% difference. The sheriff gets that you can’t pay people substandard wages and expect to keep them in a tough job, but he doesn’t control the budget.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do. They can send all kinds of help your way. But they can’t send help before they talk to you, and they can’t talk to you if no one is willing to hold the job. So you should probably consider what you will do will your waiting for someone to answer the phone.