Get the Press Release here.
PCSO to Change Policy on 9-1-1 Hang-upsFLORENCE, Ariz. – The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Communications Division is changing the way 9-1-1 calls are handled in the event the person making the call hangs up or is unavailable.
Since 1983, when the state of Arizona implemented 9-1-1, PCSO policy was to assign a deputy to respond to each call.
Due to the amount of calls Pinal County receives each year (603,812 in 2011) combined with the increase in calls made from a wireless device, PCSO Public Safety Communications Director Jennifer Foster requested a formal change in the existing policy to better allocate resources; specifically regarding 9-1-1 calls in which the caller would hang-up, or mistakenly dialed.
In 2011, PCSO Public Safety Communications fielded 9,870 hang-up calls, all of which a PCSO deputy was assigned and responded to, even if the call was accidental. Many of the calls were difficult to track because the caller was in a moving vehicle.
Chief Deputy Steve Henry immediately approved the request and all Communications Staff is receiving training to implement the new policy.
Dispatcher Gloria Wheeler pictured taking a 9-1-1 call.
On February 12, 2011, the new policy will take effect regarding 9-1-1 hang-ups in which dispatchers will:
- Determine the type of phone being used.
- Call the number back and attempt to determine the security of the caller.
- If applicable, enter a call for service according to the type of call received.
- All silent or open line calls will be challenged with the telecommunications device for the hearing impaired.
- No call will be assigned to a deputy if the dispatcher can determine 9-1-1 was misdialed through caller admission.
This change will only affect calls being made from wireless devices. Nothing will change on wire-line telephone 9-1-1 calls because a true location is known.
Foster stated, “This change in procedure will result in better time management and overall call-handling for the 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers as well as the deputies whose time will be made more available for other priority calls for service and proactive policing. I foresee response times improving for all regions in Pinal County as result of more responsible handling and allocation of our available resources. I am interested to see what the response time totals are after 2012 as we will have even better data regarding the handling of 9-1-1 calls into PCSO.”
Chief Henry stated, “Given budget cuts we’ve seen to public safety, when Foster came to me with this request it was an easy decision. In the short and long term, fuel savings from cutting unnecessary call-outs will significantly save our office money. More importantly, deputies will be doing the work they’re meant to be doing: protecting citizens and saving lives.”