Woman waits 13 minutes for 911 call

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Ginny Watson regularly walks her dogs around her Harbor Town neighborhood at 6:30 a.m. but Tuesday morning was different.

“A neighbor texted me. She saw a body sticking out of a trash can. I went to investigate in my car, and there was a body in the trash can,” Watson said.

She didn’t know if the person had a weapon or what they were trying to do.

“I moved my car out of the alleyway and called 911,” she said.

But the call just rang for an unbelievable amount of time.

“I was on hold with 911 for 13 minutes,” she said.

Police eventually told her the man was homeless and didn’t have a weapon.

But that was not what bothered her most.

“What if it had been someone with a weapon trying to get into the house trying to hurt someone?” she said.

In a statement, city officials called Watson’s experience an “anomaly.”

They also said they’ve hired more dispatchers, which has lowered the average 911 wait time from one minute to 14 seconds in the last year.

But Watson waited 56 times longer than the average.

“If it’s not just me and other people who have had the same lengthy wait time, something needs to be done for sure,” Watson said.

A representative from the mayor's office released the following statement:

"The city receives more than one million 911 calls every year, and we have worked very hard over the past year to reduce the average wait time to answer those calls from one minute to just under 14 seconds. Are we perfect? No. Are we working every day to achieve the level of service we know Memphians deserve? Absolutely. Our call takers and dispatchers do a great job under tough circumstances. A long wait time is an anomaly, not the norm and we will continue to improve."

Officials also said they were investigating the specific incident to learn more about what happened.

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