NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The Orleans Parish Community District is responsible for 911 and 311 calls throughout the city and lately, the agency has been hit with some trouble.

According to the Executive Director of OPCD, Tyrell Morris, the agency is experiencing staffing issues that are taking a toll on response times. Critics are beginning to say the same.

The important work of fielding emergency calls for medical, police, and fire response, falls upon the shoulders of the men and women of OPCD. The staff can expect to receive almost 1,600 calls daily.

“Our public safety ecosystem is like no other but all of the information that the units need to effectuate an appropriate response comes through this organization,” said Morris.

Operating 24 hours a day with a staff of 182, Morris says that in addition to fielding calls from residents and businesses, operators have also been instrumental in helping police get a better picture of crimes happening in real-time.

“The district for example may get information about a group of individuals doing armed robberies, but at the same time we’re getting information in another part of the city where the descriptions match so we’re the ones who most of the time connect the dots and say hey we may have a bigger issue here,” said Morris.

In the past, the agency had its failures but more recently, it has come under criticism by the family of Asia Davis who claimed to be a victim of domestic violence who twice called the police on her boyfriend, now accused of her murder.

Their complaint was that the police response was inadequate.

“My heart goes out to the family of Miss Davis, the individual that lost her life, and those two calls made to this agency, although we processed the call quickly and coded it as an emergency just did not meet the public’s expectations,” said Morris.

With similar situations, Director Morris has suggested a change to the availability of how protection orders are issued.

OPCD is also the call center for 311 which is the portal for the latest local government information and non-emergency calls and the goal is to make the city government work more effectively for citizens.

“I would love to get to a point where no one ever has to come to city hall or to a government building to effectuate basic city services, apply for a permit, transmit documents, there’s a way to do that electronically. We’ve come a long way, COVID really pushed into the cyber world of cloud-basing our processes We still have some room to grow there,” said Morris.

Morris told WGNO, that even with increased hiring, there are still about 30 communications district positions open. To read details of the position, visit the OPCD website.

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