Dallas city manager quiet about 911 problems at public meeting

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax was out of town late last week when city officials provided an explanation for the 911 delays.  He was back in town Monday night and held a public meeting about the upcoming budget but refused to talk about it.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has responded to the 911 crisis saying it's a leadership and operational problem and said "there's a new sheriff in town" to help fix it, referring to Broadnax

The city manager answered questions about the budget for fiscal year 2017 to 2018 at the Monday meeting but would not talk about what is likely the number one public safety concern in the city— the 911 call crisis.

Hundreds of 911 calls have been put on hold over the past four months. Two Dallas families say their loved ones died after lengthy delays during recent calls to 911.

Before the Monday meeting, the city released new numbers from the 911 call center over the weekend. The city says 81 percent of all 911 calls on Sunday were answered within 10 seconds. The city aims for that number to be at 90 percent.

The city did assign an additional dozen people a day from the Dallas Police Department to work the call center over the weekend and had a dozen more call takers work overtime to help. But the city says nearly a fourth of its call center staff called in sick over the weekend.

The city will not say how many people work the call center in total. But through an open records request, FOX 4 learned there were 73 call takers at the start of the year.

We hoped Broadnax would address this as part of the talk about next year's budget because adding more call takers or continuing to pay overtime affects the budget. The city does say council approved $2 million last year for upgrades to the call center. The upgrades should still happen this year.

It’s unclear how long the 911 delays have been, specifically in the cases in which two people died after calling 911 and being put on hold.