New numbers from Dane County 911 center show recent changes may - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New numbers from Dane County 911 center show recent changes may be working

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MADISON (WKOW)-- Over the last few weeks the Dane County 911 center has seen its fair share of criticism. Many critics, including a handful of public officials, are upset with the center's slower than average response times. Firefighters and police officers added to the criticism with their frustration in the field. New numbers however, show an upward trend that might signal the end of slow response times at the center.

"We're very pleased to hear about this progress," Dane County Public Safety Communications Board Chair Joshua Ripp says.

During Wednesday afternoon's board meeting, 911 center director John Dejung gave an update on the progress being made in call times. New numbers show the 911 center has answered calls in under 15 seconds 92% of the time over the last few weeks. That's the closest the center has been in a long time to the National Fire Protection Association's standard of 95%.

"We're getting quite close frankly to meeting the NFPA standard for answer time.," Dejung says. "There's significant improvement, a reduction in the talk time. It's allowing the communicators to move through the calls quicker than they did before."

911 board members say it's a promising sign after their decision to stop using a computer-based questioning system for police calls. Dispatchers now use a manual system.

"It's a good indication to see right now, but it's not the end all be all. We've got to make sure that we're monitoring everything every month and make sure there are no other patterns that pop up that aren't expected," Ripp says.

The 911 center may also receive additional funding next year. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi is recommending an additional $225,000 in next year's budget. He says that money will insure there are enough dispatchers during peak months of Spring and Summer. Dispatchers are often times forced to work a significant amount of overtime and board members think that might have something to do with the slower than average call times. The county board still has to approve the extra funding.


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