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Dallas 911 Facing Staffing Shortages

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Dallas 911 Call Center | Image by NBC DFW

In recent years, Dallas 911 has experienced response delays due to staffing issues, with too few operators to direct calls and provide efficient dispatch service.

While the call center has managed to increase staffing, the current leaders of Dallas 911 were questioned by the Dallas City Council on Monday as reported shortages continue, as to the effect this has had on both response times and current workers.

The Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee reported the 911 center’s staff was at 78% of authorized strength, with almost a quarter of staff positions to be filled. There are 31 operator vacancies, the information showed.

Hiring and training stalled during the holiday season, and overtime was being utilized to supplement staffing, said Robert Uribe, manager of the 911 call center.

District 12 Council Member Cara Mendelsohn voiced concerns about 911 employees being overworked, saying she had heard that some employees have worked 24-hour shifts.

The rumor is not true, according to Uribe.

“There’s no one that can work 24 hours. The max they can work is 16,” Uribe said.

Double shifts are still lengthy hours to work for an employee who must interact with the public, said Mendelsohn. Uribe responded that overtime is voluntary and no employee is required to work extra hours. Uribe also said there are more employees being hired.

In some states, overtime starts once an employee has worked more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period. In Texas, however, overtime begins once an employee has worked more than 40 hours in one work week.

The current staff totals 113 employees, compared with 60 employees in May 2021. In the month of December, 911 calls were answered on average within two seconds. This indicates a strong improvement from the previous benchmark of four seconds and frequent lengthy delays during the past two years.

Dallas 911 recently upgraded its employee facilities with a new rest-and-recreation break room, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

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Michael James Stapell
Michael James Stapell
14 days ago

The city of Dallas has a tradition of under serving its citizens. Many depts. do not scale services to meet demand. 911 call takers is just one of them. I called animal control regarding a dog my son brought home 3 days later I’m woke up at 8:00 am by an animal control officer at my door. It takes an act of congress to get a simple building permitt out of the inspection dept. plan on an 8 hour event to get an audience with them. DPD is down as much as 700 officers yet there plan says they will have a net gain of 35 officers year over year, meaning it will be 2045 before there is an adequate amount of sworn officers. The list goes on.