T-Mobile 911 glitch backing up Dallas call center response time

A glitch causing hundreds of 911 callers to be placed on hold Monday night has Dallas police and city leaders lashing out against T-Mobile.

Dallas officials have filed a formal complaint with the FCC against the nation's fourth largest telecommunications company for the problem with 911 that goes back more than 3 months.

Police say when people with T-Mobile service call 911 it goes to the dispatch center. When they hang up, the same phone -- unbeknownst to them -- makes phantom 911 hang up calls back to the dispatch center.  It makes some of those within minutes, some within hours. But there are so many it backlogs the entire system so anyone trying to call 911 gets put on hold. 

For every one of the 911 ghost hang up calls, police have to return calls to confirm if someone actually needs help.

"This is unacceptable!  This is a matter of life and death,” said frustrated Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. "We cannot have this continual blimp. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  That's not the way 911 works. It needs to work every moment, every day, every year.">>

Officials say they first became aware of the problem on Nov. 26 and despite working with T-Mobile, the problem is getting worse. Monday night the 911 operators had more than 360 calls in the queue.

Since the glitch is unpredictable, it often means bringing in officers on overtime to perform the call backs.

"It takes additional manpower, additional time and so that just aggravates the situation,” said Dallas Police Deputy Chief Jesse Reyes.

T-Mobile released a statement saying it is working daily with the city and is "committed to a continued collaboration ... to solve the problem."

Rawlings doesn’t care how the issue gets fixed, he just wants it done.

"Look.  I just want to solve the problem.  If T-Mobile can't do it we're going to get someone else that does it,” Rawlings said.

Police say until the glitch gets fixed, if you call 911 and you are put on hold and you really need help -- stay on the line. If you hang up and call back you'll be put back in the cue at the back of the call holding line and wind up waiting even longer for help.

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