CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered a big snag in fixing a problem that can delay getting you help when you need it most.

A new 911 system for Cleveland should have gone online this week, but it didn’t. That led us to investigate.

Dispatch centers across Cuyahoga County have been upgrading to a new system, but we found the City of Cleveland has missed its target for upgrading to that system.

We’ve reported many times that the Cleveland 911 center and the Cuyahoga County 911 center have been knocked offline with technical problems.

In fact, in 2021, a toddler died in Cleveland after a medical emergency. His family couldn’t get through to EMS.

The new system should fix that and give dispatchers more help pinpointing callers.

But, in Cleveland, the new system has been delayed.

Multiple sources tell the I-Team this upgrade to the new 911 system has been in the works for a very long time. So, we contacted police and the mayor’s office, asking for an explanation. Why wasn’t Cleveland ready to start using the new system?”

“We have to heart it once again from the I-Team?” City Council Public Safety Chairman Michael Polensek reacted.

He told us he found out about this from FOX 8. He also wants answers, especially given the history with Cleveland 911.

“We can’t get through or it takes forever for somebody to respond to a call, so obviously we want to see the system upgraded,” Polensek added.

Why did the city miss the target for upgrading the system?

Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia released the following statement.

“The City of Cleveland is in the process of upgrading the current 911 system. The new system will dramatically increase the overall stability and reliability of the call-answering system. It will also provide users with the ability to quickly pull more detailed data, assisting with crime analysis.

“Due to the size of the city’s safety dispatch operations and yearly call volume, the project schedule is being adjusted to allow for additional testing and other system verifications. This is needed to ensure a seamless cutover/transition to the 911 system upgrade. 

“At the conclusion of testing and verification, the City of Cleveland will work with the vendor and Cuyahoga County to establish a new Go Live Date for the program.”

Still, the city has fallen behind fixing a system that has failed in some emergencies. Multiple sources tell us the upgrade may not be done for months.

We’ve learned the Cuyahoga County dispatch center has moved to full use of the new system.