Dane County executive still confident in 911 services despite data

Former 911 Center Board member was ‘stunned' by report on answer times

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said he remains confident in the area’s 911 services, despite data showing more than 4,000 calls over the last year took longer than 40 seconds to answer.

“You have to provide context,” he said. “We get about 400,000 calls on an annual basis. Ninety-five percent of those calls are answered in three rings. The next 4 percent are answered in six rings. The vast array of calls that come in, we’re in a good place.”

News 3 reported Monday night that the 911 center has failed to meet the national standard of answering 90 percent of all 911 calls within 10 seconds or less in each of the last four quarters. Further, there are hundreds of Dane County residents calling 911 who are waiting 40 seconds or longer for a response each month.

“People who call 911 in Dane County, help will come to them,” Parisi said. “We will constantly strive to continue to improve on what we believe is a service that does deliver and gets people help when they need it.”

Fitchburg Mayor Shawn Pfaff sat on the 911 Center Board, which oversees the activities of the center’s director, John Dejung, and his 87-member staff, for the last four years until last March. He said there were discussions about answer times, but that the figures presented in the News 3 report stunned him.

“Answers need to be found,” he said. “Questions need to be asked. The public expects us to do better. They need us to do better.”