Many residents expressed their frustrations with 9-1-1, either with the long wait times for the OEMC (Office of Emergency Management & Communications) operators to pick up, or with the treatment they received when speaking to the call-takers (who are not the police, but talk to CPD dispatchers in real time).
- Please continue to call. The first thing the city looks at when figuring out how to address issues that are brought to them or when distributing police resources is the number of 9-1-1 calls.
- Forget that old training that you should call 9-1-1 only in the case of an emergency. The police themselves will tell you, If you see a situation where the presence of an officer will have an effect, call 9-1-1. Don't wait for it to turn into an emergency situation.
- If there is a long wait time, it probably means the OEMC call center is getting clobbered with calls. That's good. There are certainly staffing issues as well, but when things are relatively quiet, they pick up within a few rings. When lots of people are calling at the same time, the wait times are longer.
- We have been hearing from a few residents about unsatisfactory responses by the OEMC call-takers. A resident wrote to the alderman's office to address this, and it's exactly what we have been told by the police officers who deal with OEMC every day. This is the response:
"One thing that we've been told to pass along to residents is that if for whatever reason you're encountering problems with a call taker, you can either hang up and you'll get a new person when you call back or immediately ask for a supervisor. They are required to get a supervisor.Additionally, if you feel the need to hang up and call back, you can ask for a supervisor and describe the previous call and they'll be able to look you phone number up to match it to whoever took your call previously."
- The reader adds: "Whereas this is a bandaid fix of the issue that they have in the switchboard center and may be okay in the short term, it really just indicates that they need more management to review quality of calls and ensure training to those whom are not being diligent to get the details and do their jobs correctly."