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KCPD to address 911 operator shortage as average emergency wait time approaches 30 seconds

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners meets Tuesday morning as community members look to see how they are handling the shortage of 911 operators.

The agenda includes their monthly report, as well as further talks about their 911 operator operations.

Callers in Kansas City wait an average of 27 seconds during emergency calls, according to the latest data from the Mid-America Regional Council. The longest wait time in December was over 14 minutes.

It shows that it was updated on January 4th and these numbers below are for the month of December.

  • Callers in Kansas City, MO wait an average of 53 seconds for all call types (emergency, non-emergency, or “other”)
  • Longest hold time was over 52 minutes on December 2 for all call types (emergency, non-emergency, or “other”)
  • Emergency call wait time averages 27 seconds, with a maximum call wait time of 14 minutes

Back in November of last year for emergency calls, the average wait time was 22 seconds and the longest wait time was 17 minutes. The shortest maximum hold time in 2022 came in July with a nearly 8-minute call. The longest was in March when someone was on a waiting list for over an hour.

The problem stems from a shortage of call-takers as we have previously reported. KCPD is operating on 31 fewer than needed.

The BOPC is looking to recruit and retain more people through alternative measures to their normal operations, eliminating marijuana drug testing and offering a signing bonus. Shippers make $42,600 a year to start now, but could add another $5,000 with a signing bonus.

Police officers at last month’s meeting told the board that another reason for a shortage could be due to a lack of training prior to the interview process. They said several people come in and do very well with the process, but then fail the necessary speed-typing skills tests.

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