Aldermen, residents upset at 911 recordings in Milwaukee

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by Matt Doyle

MILWAUKEE -- People calling 9-1-1 and getting a recording. That's not what people in Milwaukee want to hear.

Alderman Terry Witkowski heard from some constituents that they didn't speak to a person, instead heard a recording. 

Representatives from MPD said this isn't a new issue. 

Callers get a recording when all dispatchers are busy. 

MPD says it takes 7-9 seconds on average for a call to get answered.  

Sometimes people wait longer depending on the call volume.

They average about 10 dispatchers answering calls at a time.  When there are bigger emergencies - like a big car crash - where a lot of people call 911, the recording is likely to play. 

Right now many alderman have concerns about an emergency 9-1-1 call hearing a recording while a non-emergency call is being answered.

MPD says the recorded message ensures people their call will be answered.

"If all the call takers have a call on the line whether it's a 911 call or a non-emergency call the next 911 call will be queued up," Milwaukee Police Chief of Staff Joel Plant said. "As we indicated today and as soon as any of those call takers are available they will answer that 911 call."

Any call that comes in, they are required to call that person back to check if it's an emergency.

He did say staffing is low right now.  They are bringing 19 people on in a few weeks that will help get it back to normal.
 

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