Grand jury released investigation results of Oakland Police Department’s 911 calls response times

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – On Monday, a grand jury released the results of an investigation into a complaint regarding an East Bay police department’s response time in answering 911 calls.  

The Oakland police 911 Communications Center is a center in crisis. 

That is how this Annual Alameda County Grand Jury Report describes the situation. 

One reason, according to this report, over 18,000 callers waited over 2 minutes for their call to be answered. 

This chart shows 13,000 of those emergency calls were abandoned.

“The Grand Jury found that approximately 40% of the callers who call 911 in the city of Oakland simply can’t get through to the operators in a timely fashion. This leads to a lot of abandoned emergency calls. This is a result of severe under-staffing of dispatchers,” Geoffrey Sylvester said. 

The Grand Jury report states:

“Oakland’s communication center fails to meet the CalOES Standard of answering 95% of all emergency calls within 15 seconds, jeopardizing public safety”

“Living in East Oakland, what I am experiencing here the report is absolutely right. There are a number of calls that aren’t being responded to,” Noel Gallo said. 

Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo says 911 dispatchers being understaffed is a result of the city’s budget woes.

“You know what the problem is? We just need the resources to hire people. I mean those are the realities,” Gallo said. 

The City Council is currently in the midst of submitting amended budget proposals. 

There is a lot of community interest in how much will be spent on public safety.

So, is there anything in the budget for 911 dispatchers?

“At this point what I have seen and I am looking at a current budget that is being submitted, uh, the answer is no,” Gallo said. 

Gallo says he will suggest revisions to the budget now that he has seen this report. The Grand Jury report recommends…

“The City of Oakland must increase the authorized and budgeted number of dispatchers and supervisors to meet state call answering standards as recommended by the city’s consultant.”

“We recognize that the city does have a fiscal crisis. However in this area where there are emergencies that are being called in by citizens who need help that the city should prioritize this,” Sylvester said.

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