City officials call out Dane County Dispatch Center - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

City officials call out Dane County Dispatch Center after several errors

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Over the last 10 months at least 32 dispatch errors have come out of the Dane County 911 Center. On Tuesday, Madison city officials voiced their frustration with these errors during a press conference at the Madison Police Department.

"There is zero tolerance. We can not have one mistake that leads to a delay or a lack of information," Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says.

Mayor Soglin listed each of these errors in a detailed letter that he sent to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi Tuesday morning. In the letter he asked for the county executive's help in creating a plan to solve these ongoing problems.

Soglin says his concerns about the accuracy and speed of information coming out of the 911 center date back to December of 2011. Since then he and other city officials have met with the dispatch administrators multiple times to work out these problems, but now the mayor and Madison police and fire departments say they've had enough.

"What I'm hearing from my officers, those men and women who are first responders, I'm hearing there are systems and there's equipment issues that are contributing to these problems that need to be corrected right away," Madison Interim Police Chief Randy Gaber says.

Some of the errors include instances where officers were sent to the wrong location, fire fighters from the wrong side of town were called to fight a fire and moments when officers weren't given accurate information about dangerous situations.

Mayor Soglin says one fire call and one police call both stood out for him. One involved a heart attack victim who didn't receive aid until an hour later. The other situation involved an officer who was sent to respond situation with a dangerous weapon, but wasn't given a description of the suspect and nearly walked past the man not knowing he was armed. 

"These issues are not being resolved. Our issues are not being answered. That leads to our frustration," Madison Fire Chief Steven Davis says.

Dane County 911 Center Director John Dejung says the issues that were presented should be handled internally and announcing them this way gives the public the wrong idea. He says the center receives more than 400,000 calls every year and while he hates to see even one error, having a few dozen in ten months doesn't mean the dispatch system is broken.

"We don't have a public safety system that is failing. We've got issues that we're resolving on a day to day basis. We've had continuous improvement opportunities we've been working on for months," Dejung says.

Most the of issues that were discussed Tuesday afternoon have already been resolved, according to Dejung. He says most of them happened because of a new software program that was installed last April. He says training an 87 person staff on new procedures and a new software program takes time.

"I want to get the nose back to the grindstone and not be distracted by side shows that shouldn't have to happen. We want to get things better and we don't want to be distracted by things that aren't necessary," Dejung says.

Dejung plans to discuss these issues with his 911 center board during their monthly meeting on Wednesday. Mayor Soglin is also hoping to discuss these concerns with Dane County Executive Joe Parisi as soon as possible.  Soglin says that training and personnel changes may need to be made.
 
The dispatch center handles calls for 85 different agencies in Dane County including Madison Police, Madison Fire and the Dane County Sheriff's Office.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MAYOR'S LETTER

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MADISON (WKOW) --- Madison Mayor Paul Soglin along with Madison Police Department, Madison Fire Department, and the Chairman of the 911 Center Board are speaking at a news conference Tuesday afternoon about concerns regarding 911.

Officials say they will have specific concerns outlined regarding posed dangers to the public and to first responders.

The news conference is going on at 2 p.m.

WKOW's Gordon Severson is at the press conference and will have more information here and on 27 News at 5 & 6.

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