Atlanta's 911 call center short staffed

There is a critical staffing problem in the Emergency 911 Communications Center.

Director Amanda Pritchett told the Atlanta City Council the office is short by at least 30 people. The number can fluctuate.

And too often, callers are getting a recording. At the same time, calls are up -- driven in part by residents calling about the same incident like street racing.

Gina Pagnotta Murphy, a union leader, notes these employees cannot do their jobs remotely. They must be in their chairs, at the computer consoles, with the added stress of the pandemic.

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Added all together, Murphy said, the situation inside the center requires immediate attention.

Manpower is down around 15 percent. Plugging the hole cannot be done quickly because of the months of training that is necessary before a worker can handle stressful calls.

City council president Felicia Moore supports upgrading pay, about $35,000 to start, as one incentive to recruiting new hires.

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The communications director urges callers not to hang up should you get a recording.

"They will get to you," said Pritchett. "If a caller hangs up, the call goes into another queue and that contact has to start all over again".

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