GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford Metro 911 has seen a big uptick in 911 calls this year.
Guilford Metro 911 facilitates calls and dispatches for services for Greensboro police and fire as well as the Guilford County sheriff’s office, fire, EMS and emergency management.
They’ve had 293,556 911 calls through the end of October alone, and they’re short-staffed.
More calls mean more resources, and Guilford Metro 911 needs to fill 16 open positions to be fully-staffed, but the bottom line is that more calls can affect response times.
“It certainly creates a lot more stress on our employees because of the large number of vacancies we have, so that just means they are answering more calls than they normally would if we were fully staffed,” Guilford Metro 911 Director Melanie Jones said.
Jones says even with the shortage, they go above and beyond.
Jones said in Thursday’s public safety meeting that while they’ll be able to manage an expected 25,000 call increase this year, not every response agency can.
“Our response times have stayed the same or gotten better for all of our responders with the exception of some of our law enforcement calls,” Jones said.
Greensboro Police Chief John Thompson says that compared to four years ago, the department’s response time is worse.
The Greensboro Police Department is short 92 sworn officer positions.
“Not only does it add additional workload to our officers, it does contribute to the time it can take them to get to a call, so our goal is really to increase our staffing,” Thompson said.
He did offer good news. There are 19 police recruits in training and 31 more in the police academy preparing to become officers. The department is also bringing in civilian responders for minor traffic crashes to reduce response times.
“They can come in and take a significant portion of the work our officers are required to do which then frees them up, which would then shorten our response time,” he said.
Thompson hopes to have the civilian traffic responders ready to serve as soon as February.
For those interested in working for Guilford Metro 911, they hire starting at age 18 with a starting salary of almost $42,000.