Task Force Looking Into 911 Call Center Issues

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A newly formed task force is investigating problems with Ingham County's consolidated 911 dispatch center, including what callers believe to be dropped calls and malfunctioning equipment.

Police, firefighters and the dispatchers themselves are worried dropped calls, malfunctioning equipment and a lack of oversight could put lives at risk.

They met with City of Lansing and county leaders Wednesday night to talk about what first-responders are dealing with.

Council Member Carol Wood says there are a variety of concerns the task force is looking at.

"Calling in and thinking the dispatcher had hung up on them when in essence the dispatcher couldn't hear them, to the fact that calls have been dispatched, I don't want to use the word incorrectly, but not following certain protocol," Wood said.

Wood says it's not the operators fault, but the city needs to ask questions.

"I think they're trying the very best they can, they're frustrated by not having the equipment work the way it should," she added.

"Anytime you switch to a new system, a computers system, a CAD system, there are going to be issues," Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said. "In this case, these are life or death matters."

Bernero says public safety is top priority. Firefighters have kept a log of the problem calls. Right now, they're reporting 36 with issues, out of 12,000 total calls.

"We are trying to identify if there are any common themes, common problems and common solutions," Fire Chief Randy Talifarro said.

He says the 911 call center does work, but it can work better.

County and city leaders say they're committed to finding out how.

"All of this apparatus, it runs through the lynchpin of the 911 system," Bernero said, pointing to the fire trucks at Station 1. "So, everything we do comes down to that."

The task force has just begun looking into the call center concerns. Bernero is expecting a report in several weeks.

The Ingham County Board of Commissioners runs the dispatch center, it is funded by county tax dollars.

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