CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team found thousands of people calling 911 with no one answering. So we investigated to find out why and what this means for your streets.
The I-Team obtained records that show, so far in June, the Cleveland Division of Police received more than 20,000 911 calls. But 2,094 did not get answered. Another 1,700 calls were not picked up after citizens dialed a seven-digit number to get to Cleveland dispatch.
In the past, we’ve revealed delays because of short staffing and equipment problems. But nothing like this.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association blames the latest trouble, largely, on a new system that requires dispatchers to ask a lot more questions. So it takes longer to answer all of the 911 calls.
Often, people don’t want to hold on and wait, or they can’t.
Multiple sources said one day last week alone, hundreds of calls didn’t get answered.
Cleveland Police Union President Jeff Follmer said,
“Right now, it’s a significant amount of calls being dropped,” said Cleveland police union president Jeff Follmer. “Right now, the system is not working for the city of Cleveland. It’s not timely enough for us to get the cars dispatched to the citizens. And, there’s some headaches with this program right now.”
The I-Team checked other 911 centers. We found Cuyahoga County dispatchers, this month, have gotten almost as many 911 calls as city dispatchers. But, the number of calls not answered in county dispatch is only about a third of the number not answered in Cleveland dispatch.
The dispatching centers call people back if they dial 911, then hang up. But, sources said that doesn’t always happen right away in Cleveland.
Cleveland City Hall did not respond to a series of I-Team questions to try to find out more about what that means for your safety.
The I-Team is still waiting for city hall to provide more records we’ve requested related to this, and we’ll follow up on the questions the city hasn’t answered.