ST. LOUIS - Today, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones toured the 9-1-1 dispatch center in Downtown St. Louis to meet with 9-1-1 dispatchers and give an update to press on the administration’s efforts to streamline and improve the city’s current system. Mayor Jones met with experienced 9-1-1 supervisors and dispatchers to learn more about their work, and sat down with a dispatcher to listen in on calls coming into the facility.
“St. Louisans deserve a 9-1-1 system that makes them feel safe and protected,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “I appreciate the hard work our 9-1-1 dispatchers do to connect residents with lifesaving resources in moments of crisis. My administration is committed to addressing both the short and long-term problems that have faced this system for years.”
The City of St. Louis’ 9-1-1 dispatch system has been in dire need of an overhaul for years, with some callers experiencing holds for several minutes while waiting for a response to their emergencies. Currently, when a resident calls 9-1-1, all calls are funneled initially through the Police Department dispatchers, creating a bottleneck effect that keeps more people on hold.
In close collaboration with acting Public Safety Director Dr. Dan Isom, the Jones administration is exploring essential changes to streamline the City’s emergency response system, focusing on three areas: personnel, technology, and diversion. The Department of Public Safety is seeking to combine and centralize Police and Fire dispatchers into one facility in the immediate term in order to answer 9-1-1 calls more quickly, with a longer-term goal of consolidating these efforts under the City Emergency Management Agency (CEMA). Technology upgrades are also needed.
These changes play a larger role in Mayor Jones’ mission to connect the right professionals to the right calls for help. In July, Mayor Jones and Congresswoman Cori Bush toured the City of Denver and visited the city’s STAR program, which deploys social service and mental health providers to 9-1-1 calls that do not require a police response. Of the more than 1,300 calls STAR responded to, not a single one required police backup.
The City of St. Louis is looking to fill vacancies in key departments, including 9-1-1 dispatchers. Jobseekers interested in helping keep City residents safe in their homes and neighborhoods can apply online at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/