St. Louis city report shows improvement in emergency call response times

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ST. LOUIS – The City of St. Louis shared a report Thursday indicating there has been an improvement in response times for answering emergency calls.

The public safety department said they are looking to fill more than a dozen dispatcher positions as quickly as possible.

That comes months after the FOX Files revealed a St. Louis City police memo showing only one dispatcher working to answer three radio channels, the city claims it is making major waves to protect you.

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“We are improving. We’re getting where we need to be,” said Charles Coyle, Director of Public Safety.

He said the national standard for answering 911 calls is within ten seconds of the first ring. That wasn’t the case during the severe weather this summer. A 33-year-old woman died after a tree fell on her car and bystanders said they couldn’t get a dispatcher on the phone. 

“We began in July answering calls in the upper 40 and 50 second range. That was because we were so low down with dispatchers we were almost short 50 percent of our total capacity,” said Coyle.

He said they have filled many positions, but the city still needs to fill 13 vacancies for police dispatchers and four in EMS. He said the city’s dispatch training program is eight months.

“You have access to information that everyone can’t have. You have background information on people, REGIS information, so we have to be very careful when we hire someone to do those jobs,” said Coyle.


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