Some local, nonemergency 911 calls may be placed on hold starting Monday
Mon., Oct. 31, 2022
Changes at Spokane County’s 911 communications center could leave some people with less urgent needs finding themselves on hold starting Monday, but response times for critical incidents won’t be affected.
Staff at the Spokane Regional Emergency Communications center answer every 911 call made in the county, but the center’s responsibilities are changing.
Historically, staff at the emergency communications center have handed off medical and fire calls within Spokane to a separate group of Spokane Fire Department dispatchers.
Now, the Spokane Regional Emergency Communications center is absorbing fire department dispatch.
To handle the change, the communications center will delegate more work to the Spokane Police Department’s separate group of dispatchers.
Spokane Police Department Assistant Chief Justin Lundgren said handling of critical calls will remain the same, but people calling about less critical incidents, during peak times, might find themselves on hold. Spokane Regional Emergency Communications staff will still answer the phone at first, but they’ll hand the call to the police dispatchers almost immediately.
“This forwarding process may mean that callers are placed on hold for a period of time until a dispatcher is available to speak to them,” Lundgren said.
Lundgren encouraged the public to call 911 for violent crimes and other life-threatening emergencies, and Crime Check, (509) 456-2233, when reporting nonemergency incidents.
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