One year ago, a WCCO investigation found some Minneapolis residents waiting more than three minutes for their 911 calls to be answered. Dispatchers exposed what they called dangerous staffing levels leading to those long wait times.
When WCCO-TV first exposed 911 calls going unanswered in Minneapolis, the city told us there wasn’t a problem. Leaders pointed to an average answer time of around 8 seconds, as proof the system is working. But when we obtained call records after weeks of asking, we found certain times of day had much longer waits.
Rules are changing at Minneapolis’s 911 center after a WCCO Investigation found some callers waiting minutes to get through. Raymond Callihan’s wife tried twice to reach an operator last week when her husband suffered a heart attack. Her second call took more than two minutes to answer. Callihan died Thursday morning. City leaders Thursday expressed sympathy for his family. But operators at the 911 center worry others may not get help as quickly as they should, and they’re asking for more staff.
For some people, it could be the most important phone call they will ever make but in a WCCO investigation, some 911 operators and dispatchers in Minneapolis said they’re in the middle of an emergency of their own.