City Addresses 911 Dispatch Concerns

The Lansing mayor sets up a task force to deal with problems at the new 911 call center.

It's a story we first brought you Tuesday night.

Police and fire unions say problems at the new Ingham county 911 dispatch center are causing confusion and slowing down response times.

Wednesday afternoon the Lansing Public Safety Committee held a meeting to discuss how to fix the problems.

Chris Lake, President: Lansing Fire Fighters Union: “We strive to be everywhere in the city in 4 minutes.”

That's 4 minutes from the time the phone rings.

Lake: “Our focus is on life safety, incident stabilization, property conservation- life comes first.”

But Lake says life hangs in the balance when dispatch struggles.

Lake: “If its a bad address, that just delays the response that much longer.”

And its not just bad addresses, according to the union its also dropped calls, volume issues and staffing.

Tom Krug, Executive Director, Fraternal Order of Police, Capitol City Lodge: “We need more staff. There's 12 funded positions that they haven't filled yet so I mean there's 12 openings out of 48.”

Krug says training is also part of the problem.

Krug: “We want to know what rules to follow and what guidelines to use when we dispatch police and fire.”

But Lance Langdon, the director of the 911 call center, says training isn't the problem.

Langdon: “I don't believe so, we have a very experienced group of dispatchers, many of them have been doing it for many years.”

Either way, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says that's what the task force is set up to do, find and eliminate the problems.

Bernero: “Absolutely, you better believe we are focused now like a laser on this 911 system, it must be right, it must be fixed.”

And he's ready to do whatever it takes to make things run smoothly.

Bernero: “I mean if it would save lives, maybe we re-name a couple streets – that's something we would consider.”

But right now they're focused on pin-pointing the problems and speeding up response times.

Bernero: “We're not gonna save everybody that we respond to but we want to make sure every response was timely.”

Because time can be the difference between life and death.

Both police and fire unions want to remind you that when you call 911 it's best to give the most complete information you can about your location.

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