CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered the reason why the City of Cleveland missed a target for fixing its 911 system.
The reason outlined in an internal email is not what the city has told the I-Team or city council members.
In one email, an official admits the city messed up. However, the mayor’s office has put out a different story.
Last week, we showed you the city missed a target for upgrading its 911 system.
The upgrade is happening at dispatch centers countywide. We’ve exposed problems and breakdowns with the 911 system many times.
Now, one email from a Cleveland IT manager to the county says, in part, “this isn’t looking good. Somehow this was dropped by both dispatch and IT.”
The internal emails reveal what city hall didn’t tell the public. When we first reported the delay in upgrading the system, the city said the project simply had to be “adjusted to allow for additional testing.”
But, an email shows a “significant amount” of computer programming is still needed.
The city told the county 911 about the delay just days before the upgrade should have been completed.
The county responded, at one point saying, “it’s sort of late in the game to cancel now,” and, “rescheduling Cleveland will affect every other (911 center).”
“But I want to hear the straight news,” city council public safety chairman Michael Polensek said.
Mayor Justin Bibb’s chief of staff even sent the councilman a memo about the delay, but it mentions “additional testing” to be done while it does not mention the reason for the delay.
“What don’t they want to tell us? Why aren’t we aware of the problems that they have? Maybe we can help fix them,” Polensek added.
On Wednesday, councilman Kevin Conwell also asked about this at a safety committee hearing.
The Cleveland safety director never mentioned the city’s failures outlined in the memos.
At that hearing, Karrie Howard responded with, “We want to make sure that the upgrade is implemented correctly so that we don’t experience crashes because we rushed to do it.”
Back in 2021, a toddler died after a medical emergency when no one could get through to 911 in Cleveland.
City council members have been told the upgrade could be done by mid-June, but there’s no guarantee on that. We will keep watching.