D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser defended the city’s 911 Call Center following accusations that its staffers are incompetent after six people have died so far this year because call takers erroneously delayed sending help.
The public safety blog Statter911.com, manned by former television journalist Dave Statter, reported this week that the latest incident occurred on Sept. 2 when a call to 911 was botched and an 11-minute delay ensued in calling an ambulance to a man who had collapsed and later died.
“I can’t answer specifics about a specific call if I haven’t reviewed it. … I think you know when people call 911, oftentimes they’re very sick, and sometimes there’s nothing we can do to help,” Bowser said Wednesday, WTOP reported.
At a Sept. 7 public safety forum for D.C. Council at-large candidates at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church in Ward 8, Council members Anita Bonds (D-At Large), Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) and Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) were taken to task by independent candidate Karim Marshall for the mistakes of the call center, which is under the Office of Unified Communications led by Karima Holmes.
Statter’s blog said the agency’s problem lies with middle and upper management, not the callers, WTOP reported.
The mayor said her focus is on ensuring that the city has the best personnel possible and they have the training and resources that are needed.