Calif. city 911 center understaffed, overworked

Response times for citizens calling in to 911 for help are growing as the city experiences a shortage of dispatchers

By News Staff

BERKELEY, Calif. — An audit by the city shows the communication center is understaffed and overworked.

KPIX 5 reported that despite having the budget for 28 dispatchers, the city of Berkeley has only had 23 for years, despite the volume of calls increasing over time.

In addition, the report revealed the city spent nearly $1 million in 2017 on overtime due to understaffing and did not meet a state requirement of “answering 95% of 911 calls within 15 seconds.” That goal was only met in 89% of calls.

The report also found that morale among dispatchers was low, according to Berkeley City Auditor Jenny Wong.

“They found that morale was low,” she said. “A lot of it has to do with understaffing, that’s the underpinning root cause of what’s going on.”

Recommendations in the report include an increase in staff and the creation of a stress management program for dispatchers.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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