911 response times rising in Montgomery Co.

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The Montgomery County police say response times to 911 calls have increased, and they attribute that to the continuing overhaul of the emergency response system which began in 2013.

At Monday’s briefing before the Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee, Police Chief Tom Manger was asked about problems with the 911 system by council member Craig Rice, who represents Germantown.

Rice said that earlier in the month, he and his family spotted a crash on Clopper Road. He got out of the car to help the victims, while his wife called 911.

“She got put on hold,” said Rice. While he assisted the victims, his wife and father got out to help direct traffic. “The response time was quite long.”

Police say that 2015 the average response time was 7 minutes, 27 seconds; in 2016, it increased to 8 minutes, 19 seconds.

Manger said that’s a result of two things: “It’s a training issue and it’s a technology issue.”

Manger said that since 2013, when the emergency call center was consolidated under the police department, a number of changes had to be made, including training and the purchase of a computer-aided dispatch system.

“The way we take calls, the way we process them, technology, the equipment — all of that is changing,” Manger said, adding that he’s hopeful that the response times will shrink as the new protocols for taking calls become routine.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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