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911 Report Card: What the center is doing to make improvements

911 Communications Center.jpg
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 01:34:37-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A scathing report card was released on the 911 call center in the City of Tucson and now the center is working on solutions to tackle the issues in front of them.

Inside the 40-page audit by Traaen & Associates LLC several issues are brought to light.

  • Culture and Morale
  • Employee discipline
  • Equipment/environmental needs
  • Internal and external communications
  • Leadership
  • Training/Employee development
  • Workload/staffing capacity

READ: VIEW FULL AUDIT

Employees detailed a work environment to the LLC as a "sinking ship."

There were also allegations of leadership bullying staff and poor training.

“I think what it has done is opened a line of communication for us that perhaps didn't always exist for many reasons this is a very complex issue one report doesn't either shed a light on everything or help us to solve it all, but it does give us a tool to begin to move forward," said Geoff Kuhn, administrator for public safety communications.

He said while this was all going on the community was never at risk, but said for longer than normal wait times for help is no secret.

"We've certainly had challenges in answering phone calls as promptly as we'd like to. That's not a secret, but we still continue to have committed staff, to providing that critical service to our citizens, to our community members. We've also changed some workflow things along with the assistance of our line-level staff in evaluating the best practice for us so that we can get to those no one calls more quickly,” said Kuhn.

The department is now looking ahead and focusing on solutions to make sure operations improve; the audit laid out 14 solutions.

Kuhn explained recruitment is a top priority. He said there are more than 20 open positions.

“911 staffing is not a City of Tucson problem. This is a problem nationally, particularly in larger communication centers like ours. We're doing everything we can as a department to make sure that our people have what they need to be successful,” said Kuhn.

Another priority on the list are working groups -- one with city leaders that are helping the department work through the issues identified in the audit and another made up of employees to help morale in the workplace.

"We have those two groups working in conjunction with each other, as we look at what came from the assessment, and then also what comes from the employees. So not just coming from above, but coming from the folks doing it, what what's important to them, and how can we help them to be successful so that we can all meet the mission and do what the community needs,” said Kuhn.

Kuhn is also asking the community for their help when it comes to dialing 911.

"We've seen calls where people are looking just for information, or things that aren't necessarily in the moment of emergency, we do have alternative methods of reporting to 911. Whether it's police reports through the city, the Tucson Police Department, the Tucson Fire Department also has resources available, if it's not something you need at the moment,” explained Kuhn.