‘That’s a crisis’: Calls to CMPD aren’t being answered at industry rate, data shows

CHARLOTTE — When it comes to calls to 911, seconds matter.

However, right now, precious time is ticking and 911 calls are not being answered fast enough, according to David Robinson, deputy chief with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The industry standard is for 90% of calls to 911 be answered within 10 seconds. CMPD is falling short of that mark, only answering 60% of calls in that timeframe, data from the department shows.

“CMPD’s goal is to have no delay whatsoever, and I believe we will get there,” Robinson said during a presentation to the Charlotte City Council on Monday.

CMPD is receiving about one million calls to 911 a year.

Robinson said 90% of 911 calls are being answered in a minute or less, 97% are being answered in two minutes and 99% in less than five minutes.

City leaders say they aren’t satisfied with those numbers.

“There are 30,000 calls a year that are not being answered in two minutes and that is a concern,” said Councilman Ed Driggs, representative for District 7.

“That’s a crisis when residents are on hold for two minutes, 10 minutes or however long, one minute,” Councilwoman Renee Johnson, representative for District 4, said.

CMPD said it is down 20 telecommunicators at this time.

To try and cut down on the waiting time, the department said it is assigning more people to work during peak call times, allowing supervisors to take overtime, authorizing overtime for other staffers and assigning light-duty officers to take calls.

It’s a temporary fix, especially as departments nationwide grapple with a similar telecommunicator shortage.

Robinson said he hopes in 90 days things will improve.

“There is no stone that we are not willing to turn over,” he told the council.

That includes increasing pay and offering signing bonuses to attract new hires.

(WATCH BELOW: CMPD blames post-pandemic staffing shortages for longer waits when calling 911)