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Dallas 911 Gets an Upgrade

City

Dallas emergency dispatchers and 911 phone operators received an upgraded breakroom. | Image by NBC DFW

On Thursday, Dallas emergency dispatchers and 911 phone operators received a holiday surprise – an upgraded breakroom.

“It’s welcoming. The tables are new. The chairs are new. Although the Christmas tree is temporary, it’s new. The popcorn stand over there is new. I like it,” Jerrica Key, a call taker said.

In the break room, there is all-new furniture and equipment, including game tables, comfortable chairs, and couches.

Key joined the staff a year and a half ago, and suggested the upgrades have assisted in the stressful job, saying, “It’s definitely good to take a break every now and then. The break room there, we need it.”

The city budget did not provide the improvement worth about $35,000, but the nonprofit group Dwell With Dignity provided the renovation.

“We are thrilled to give them this gift, a beautiful space where they can reunite, where they can have a moment of peace and dignity,” said Dwell With Dignity Executive Director Ashley Sharpe.

The upgrade came as a reward for the call center after the department displayed improvement after years of serious failures.

In recent years, Dallas 911 had reportedly suffered several failures and delays, including some deadly incidents, such as when a car was stuck on DART rail tracks this summer.

Dallas 911 has improved their call answer time to just a four-second wait time. The main priority for such substantial improvement is an increase in 911 operator staffing, which has almost doubled in the past year.

In May 2021, there were only 60 operators. The current staff is 113, with several more operators in training.

“They truly are, just like our police officers, firefighters and paramedics, they truly are life savers,” Assistant Dallas City Manager Jon Fortune said.

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