Mayor: Staff ‘misled’ Dallas leaders on hiring for 911 staff

911 call center (KXAN)
911 call center (KXAN)

DALLAS (AP) — Mayor Mike Rawlings says city staff for years “misled” Dallas leaders by making them believe money would be spent to hire additional 911 dispatchers when such hiring never occurred.

Rawlings’ sharp criticism came Wednesday during a city council briefing on 911 operations long plagued by staffing shortages and technological problems that at times have resulted in hundreds of callers being placed on hold.

The council learned the call center in March had 60 dispatchers. But the city for years has budgeted for 101 full-time positions.

Interim police Chief David Pughes says the fault lies with his department, telling the council that commanders for too long were not aggressive enough in hiring 911 dispatchers.

A temporary solution has been to pull dozens of officers off the streets to help with staffing.