When seconds count, police are only a few minutes away. Maybe more in Portland, Oregon. John Sexton at Hot Hair, Portland 911 system 'broken' as some callers wait more than 5 minutes for a response
The expected wait time for a 911 call is supposed to be somewhere around 15-20 seconds. In Portland, the current average is close to a full minute. Because that’s an average it means some unlucky residents are waiting quite a bit longer.The bureau tracks average 911 call answer times by month to gauge its track record. The data shows an average hold time of a minute. But it also shows a dramatic increase of 911 calls on hold for two minutes or longer starting in late spring and summer.Here’s a chart showing the wait times. In July, you can see there were the aforementioned 574 calls that took longer than five minutes but there were thousands of calls that took longer than two minutes. That’s a long time to sit on hold if you or someone you love has been shot or is being attacked.
Another striking jump of calls on hold for more than five minutes occurred in May and July, according to bureau figures released to the newsroom.
Compared to March, when only eight 911 calls took more than five minutes to answer, that number increased to 221 in May and more than doubled to 574 in July.
Why is this happening? There are two reasons. First, with the rise of shootings and other crimes, the number of 911 calls being placed each month is up sharply compared to last year, between 20% and 45%. Second, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications which handles the calls is understaffed. It’s supposed to have a staff of 128 dispatchers but currently only has 106:The real reason is that they voted poorly.