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Denver 911 hold times improving thanks to influx of call takers

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Posted at 9:12 PM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 23:21:50-05

DENVER — Hold times for 911 calls in Denver are improving thanks to an influx of call takers, officials say.

Andrew Dameron, director of Denver 911, said staffing levels are up and answer times for 911 calls have improved thanks to those who graduated from the 911 call taker academy in September.

"That has brought our effective staffing up from a low of about 49% earlier this year to now we're sitting at about 69%,” he said.

Dameron said the goal is to meet the National Emergency Number Association's standard call time, which is 90% of 911 calls answered within 15 seconds and 95% answered within 20 seconds. In Denver, roughly 70% of calls meet that standard, Dameron said.

More people are set to graduate from the academy at the end of the month, and Denver is already recruiting for the next academy.

“We are already recruiting for a January call taker academy, at which point we will be actually over 100 percent. And my intention is to overhire a little bit,” said Dameron.

Breanna O’Neill graduated from Denver's 911 call taker academy in September.

“I’m really enjoying being able to help my community like this,” said O’Neill.

Dameron said if you call 911 in Denver, you will not get a busy signal. However, you may get a recording.

"If you dial 911 and you do hear that recording saying that you've reached Denver 911, somebody will be with you. Stay on the line. If you hang up and call back, you go back to the end of the queue, and it will take even longer for someone to get to you,” said Dameron.

O’Neill suggests callers also take advantage of online reporting if possible.

“Auto theft — if there's no solvability — or something like that, there's online reporting for that,” she said. “Vandalism can be handled online. It would just help the influx of calls here at the center. I do know that observing others around me, we are putting in our best effort.”

Denver 911 is still accepting applicants for the January 2024 call taker academy. To learn more, click here.

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