Gwinnett County 911 Center Overcomes Staffing Crisis, Improving Emergency Response Times

2 min read
911-operator

The ongoing 911 staffing crisis affecting call centers nationwide has significantly impacted the Gwinnett County 911 Center. In September 2022, the center grappled with a staggering vacancy rate of up to 36%, leading to prolonged wait times for emergency calls to be answered. However, concerted efforts by county leadership have resulted in significant improvements.

Thanks to the unwavering support of county officials, the Gwinnett County 911 Center has made substantial progress in addressing its staffing challenges. The vacancy rate has been slashed to 18%, and the center has been granted approval for 12 new positions to ensure long-term stability. These achievements have been made possible through comprehensive compensation reviews and expanded recruitment efforts.

Recognizing the critical importance of efficient training programs, the center has revamped its training regimen for new communications officers. The extensive program, which can span up to a year, has been enhanced to include live training for non-emergency calls during the academy phase. Despite being in training, these employees now handle an average of 40-50% of non-emergency calls monthly. Furthermore, on-the-job training has been streamlined, reducing training time by up to 36% without compromising quality.

In a bid to further enhance operational efficiency, the center is exploring strategic changes, including assigning non-emergency call responsibilities to personnel in training. This enables trained personnel to focus exclusively on handling 911 calls, ensuring a more rapid response to emergencies.

Extensive scheduling reviews have also been undertaken to guarantee adequate staffing during peak periods and to bolster employee retention. These initiatives, coupled with other operational improvements, have yielded remarkable results. Since April 2023, the average call wait time has plummeted by 82%. In March 2024 alone, 84% of calls were answered within 20 seconds, with 94% answered within one minute (excluding abandoned calls). Notably, the average hold time has dwindled from 1 minute 27 seconds in April 2023 to just 16 seconds by March 2024.

In 2023, the 911 Center fielded an average of 2,032 calls daily, ranging from minor incidents to life-threatening emergencies. Despite the demanding nature of their work, the dedication of communications officers often goes unnoticed. Therefore, the Gwinnett Police extend heartfelt appreciation to these unsung heroes for their tireless efforts in reducing call hold times.

To foster greater community awareness and engagement, the Gwinnett County Police Department has launched a dedicated webpage for the Communications Division. This platform provides residents with essential information on when to dial 911, how to use emergency services, texting 911, and more.

As the department continues its mission to enhance emergency response services, it invites dedicated individuals to join its team of exceptional staff at the 911 Center. For more information on available positions and how to apply, visit Gwinnett911Careers.com.