911 Call Center problems

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "I would argue that this is the most basic, critical service that we provide as a city," said Worth Morgan.

An emergency 911 service that some Memphis City Council members said isn't up to par.

Tuesday was a check-in of sorts to see what the city is doing to make things better.

"Our numbers last year were abysmal."

Last year, city dispatchers only answered 40 percent of calls under 20 seconds.

The goal is to do that 95 percent of the time.

"They're waiting an hour, two hours for police to actually respond," said Mike Williams.

The city said the problem is staffing.

There are a total of 51 vacancies in the dispatch center out of more than 160 overal positions.

The council released emergency funding several months ago to hire 30 part-time workers.

A majority of those jobs are still vacant.

"Just in terms of what you need to type, what you need to -- the difficulty and the stress of the job. We have employees that are constantly being drafted into overtime."

The city gave out stats that showed some improvement but there is still a long way to go.

"We're not there. Only about 60% of the calls are 20 seconds. It's unsatisfactory," said Doug McGowen.

"They've had an opportunity and now it's time to really put up and finish this."

This recent hiring blitz is a quick fix, but the city is also looking at longer term solutions like the physical space where dispatchers are and making sure it's adequate.