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Durham Emergency Communications Department

Posted on: August 18, 2021

An Open Letter to Durham Residents About 911 Staffing Concerns

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The Durham Emergency Communications Center (DECC) recognizes it is critically important to maintain well-trained professionals to serve the residents of Durham. While we are proud of the excellent service provided by our 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers, we recognize that some callers have experienced delays in having their calls answered.  We want you to know that we are working hard to provide the prompt service you rightfully expect.

Here is a summary of what we are doing to enhance our staffing to provide better service:

  • Targeting our recruitment of trained call takers, who either previously worked for Durham, or who have experience at other agencies that matches Durham’s needs.

  • Recruiting and hiring additional training staff to increase the number of new call takers we can train in a year. Thanks to these efforts, we have added an additional academy this year and are expanding the size of our academies going forward.

  • Maximizing efforts to fill all necessary shifts with trained personnel by offering over time to existing staff and using administrative staff to cover shifts when needed.

  • Enhancing our efforts to listen to our existing staff to understand their needs and concerns, so that we can support them better in the workplace. Studies show that 911 call takers/dispatcher jobs rank among the most stressful jobs in the U.S.  While the job is demanding, many call takers/dispatchers will share that serving a person during their time of greatest need is also rewarding. If you or someone you know is interested in working as a Durham 911 call taker, please visit the City jobs webpage.

The City of Durham is committed to continuing these efforts and pursuing all other options to reduce call answer times in 911. As we work to improve, we urge 911 callers to not hang up. Hanging up and calling back puts you further back in the call queue. Please wait and your call will be answered as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We pledge to provide periodic updates on our efforts on this page. In the meantime, we welcome your comments, suggestions and feedback via email to Tangela Gibson, Assistant Director, DECC (tangela.gibson@durhamnc.gov).

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