Minneapolis 911 staffing levels improve, response times still below national standards
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS first reported more than a year ago that the number of operators and dispatchers at the Minneapolis 911 Center was “dangerously low” and the amount of time it took to answer 911 emergency calls had fallen below nationally recognized standards.
But, the director of the 911 center, Joni Hodne, told KSTP Monday that staffing levels had increased from a low of 44 last December to 52 operators and dispatchers currently on the payroll. Hodne said it’s an improvement and the new workers have lightened the workload, but she also said they still need more operators and dispatchers. Hodne said having 70 operators and dispatchers would be ideal.
“We’re still looking for 18 people and we still have more progress to make but having eight people come on board since the first of the year has been very beneficial to us,” said Hodne.
Hodne said the new hires will help alleviate some of the burnout she has witnessed over the past few years.
“They are definitely tired, but there has been some relief with the new staff that has come in,” said Hodne. “But they’re still working a lot of overtime.”
National standards recommend that a 911 call be answered in under 15 seconds 90% of the time. Minneapolis records showed the 911 center only meets that threshold 86% of the time. Those same standards indicate calls should also be answered within 20 seconds 95% of the time. In Minneapolis, only 89% of the 911 calls are answered within 20 seconds, according to city records.
Dr. Cedric Alexander, Minneapolis Commissioner of Community Safety, told KSTP he credited Hodne with doing “tremendous” work by getting new employees, but he also said his goal is to exceed industry standards when it comes to answering 911 calls as quickly as possible.
“And, we’re going to get to that national standard,” said Alexander. “But, considering the number of shortages that they have, those are still great numbers, however, we still got work to do.”