Orleans Parish voters will decide Saturday, Dec. 8th whether or not to increase fees that will help pay for improvements to the city’s 9-1-1 emergency system
But residents we talked to say concerns are with emergency responders, like police and fire crews, not emergency dispatchers.
“They’re hiding out behind someone’s backyard, 20, 30 minutes, an hour comes,” resident Samantha Burleigh said. “The cops don’t come they’re going to do it again because if somebody’s determined and crazy enough they’re going to get what they want.”
Samantha Burleigh and Channa Boswell are sounding off about NOPD response times; just days before Orleans Parish voters decide whether to pay more to upgrade the city’s 9-1-1 system, and days after Jason Bohnenstiehl was robbed.
He was hanging Christmas lights Sunday; when he was forced at gunpoint inside his Pratt Street home, tied up and burglarized.
He said off camera that it took three hours to get a response from Third District Detectives.
“I’d be the first person to say he deserved better, but we need to go back and see what the problem was,” said Communication District Board President Terry Ebbert.
Proposed upgrades to the 9-1-1 center would raise monthly charges to $2 for residential land lines, $3 for commercial, and $1.26-cents for cell phones.
It would boost the district’s revenue from $5 to $7.5 million dollars a year, and help the call center consolidate and operate more efficiently.
Metro Crime Commission Director Rafael Goyeneche says, “It will allow responding agencies to more effectively prioritize and deploy their manpower to calls for service.”
“It’s not good for the citizens if we can’t respond in the most timely and accurate manor,” Ebbert said.
He says the plan would allow calls to be answered within 30 seconds.
Boswell says, in her experience, dispatchers have not been the problem.
“Dispatchers answered the phone and did their job,” Boswell said.
NOPD response times have been controversial.
The national average for a high priority call is around 9-minutes.
Chief Serpas has gone on record in the past, pointing to a backlog of calls, misclassifications, and thin staffing as reasons for less than ideal response times.
When asked about Bohnenstiehl’s case, the NOPD forwarded our request to their legal department for review.
“Why should it have to be reviewed if it was done in a timely manner, less than three hours?” Burleigh asked.
“Cause at the same time they’re calling dispatchers aren’t the cops supposed to be already be on the way,” Boswell said “So I’m sure he’s like where’s the police.”
The NOPD is still looking into Bohnenstiehl’s case.
If higher fees pass, Ebbert says improvements at the 9-1-1 call center are expected to be complete by the end of 2013.