The director of Lexington’s enhanced 911 emergency call program outlined staffing issues to a city council committee this week. Emergency calls for help have increased significantly over the past two decades.
Enhanced 911 Director Robert Stack said there are currently 10 vacancies in a 75 person department. Dspite the staffing issues, he noted more than 98% of emergency calls are answered within ten seconds. But Stack said growing cell phone usage is creating challenges.
“Lexington’s population grew 23% in the last 21 years. Our calls to 911 grew 55.3%. But, the number of people we have answering those calls dropped 21%. That’s not good,” said Stack.
Stack said there have been cases where multiple family members in one car have called to report an accident. The former police officer reminded council members that police and fire runs come after a 911 call is made. “They don’t go anywhere unless we take the call and send them and if the logjam is on taking the call, they’re not going anywhere. Keep that in mind. And we are getting a logjam on answering the calls,” explained Stack.
The director plans to request six additional 911 operators in the next budget. Stack also said there are equipment needs to be addressed in the next five years.
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