OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Oakland city leaders announced a plan to pump $2.5 million of additional funding into the city’s beleaguered 911 system.
Oakland’s emergency dispatch center has been plagued by ongoing problems, including aging technology, a dispatcher staffing shortage, and long wait times for 911 callers.
Mayor Sheng Thao said, “Response times have been a long-standing issue for our city, and the current situation is unacceptable. Thanks to additional revenues collected this year, we were able to direct an additional $2.5 million over the next two years to strengthen our 911 response.”
An Alameda County Civil Grand Jury report warned that Oakland’s 911 system was underperforming. The grand jury found that dispatchers were unable to meet state standards that say 90 percent of calls should be answered by a live person within 15 seconds, and 95 percent should be answered within 20 seconds.
Oakland was recently put on notice by state regulators. California regulators warned that in order for Oakland to continue receiving state funding, 911 dispatch operators need to comply with CAL-OES call response requirements.
City administrator Jestin Johnson said, “We are also preparing a major upgrade to the computer aided dispatch system, or the CAD system, that 911 call takers use to expedite connecting emergency responders to the scene of a call.”
City leaders said the $2.5 million will accelerate improving the CAD system within the next six months. They are also hoping to fill 16 open dispatcher job vacancies so that calls for help will be answered sooner.
Bay City News contributed to this report.