Local News

Dispatchers ask for patience during emergency calls

CSPD Responds To Long 911 Wait Time

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - When you call 911, you expect an operator to pick up the phone immediately.  It doesn't always happen.

KRDO photographer Jessica Hines tried to report a motorcycle crash on her way to work Tuesday morning.

She says she couldn't get through to 911.

"I called and it rang about 10 times," Hines said. "It just felt like forever."

When nobody answered her call, Hines hung up.

A dispatcher returned her phone call less than two minutes later.

According to a call report, dispatchers answered two other calls about the crash before Jessica tried to reach them.

Dispatchers answered the first call in 4 seconds, and answered the second call in 15 seconds.

Jessica disconnected after waiting nearly 90 seconds, but Colorado Springs police say people should never hang up when calling 911.

"It might seem like a long time, but 90 seconds is really not that long," said Lt. Catherine Buckley. "Once you hang up, that creates another step for us to have to go back and re-contact you."

Hines says the wait time surprised her.

"If it was a situation that was very life-threatening, I don't know if 90 seconds would be enough time," Hines said.

Buckley says the average wait time varies, but dispatchers work hard to respond to every call.

"We are trying to staff those phone calls as quickly as possible," Buckley said. "Our goal is to get you help as quickly as possible."

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