A Year in Review: Public Safety

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Public safety is job number one in Salt Lake City.

In January 2016, our 911 Dispatch emergency responders were stressed and overworked with mandatory overtime shifts. Response times to calls were unacceptable. Extra seconds on an emergency call can mean a difference between life and death, so addressing this issue was a top 2016 priority.

Police, fire, and 911 administrations were asked to collaborate in the first 100 days of the year to address and begin solving these persistent problems. By early April, the three agencies had worked together to make meaningful change to our 911 system.

Improvements quickly followed.

By October, the total number of overtime shifts for our emergency dispatchers had decreased by 66 percent. Between July and October alone, mandatory overtime shifts were down 84 percent.

In September and October, 911 calls were answered within 15 seconds, 92 percent to 98 percent of the time, including between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. – the 10 busiest hours of the day. During the spring of 2016, calls were being answered within 15 seconds only 85 percent to 89 percent of the time. The bureau’s goal is to answer at least 90 percent of 911 calls within 15 seconds.

Along with hiring and training, SLC911 has been implementing programs to help build morale within the department, and is soliciting feedback from dispatchers on ways to improve the longevity on the job and the overall work atmosphere. The average tenure at SLC911 is six years.

SLC911 dispatchers handle approximately 660,482 calls per year, serving both Salt Lake City and Sandy.

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