Pasco’s 911 call center makes immediate changes

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pasco County 9-1-1 call center is making immediate changes after charges it takes too long to get through.

The response time has become an issue in the county. Residents have complained about the amount of time it takes for a 9-1-1 call to be answered.

“It keeps ringing for 54 seconds. I have it on my phone showing how long it rang and rang and rang,” Heidi Damon said.

The Pasco County Commission demanded the call center reduce those wait times. With a new director of emergency services in place, things are changing.

“Where as just last week we had eight or nine call takers on the floor, we have made some administrative changes and we have 13 on the floor everyday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Director Kevin Guthrie said.

Guthrie has only been on the job three weeks but it’s his responsibility to make improvements. He hired 6 new call takers, and there will be 12 by next month.

The new director said people in the county should not be concerned about public safety. “Absolutely not. We are taking the necessary steps right now to get those folks in place to help us handle that call volume,” Guthrie said.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco assured the commissioners progress is being made.

“As you heard the commission say, ‘Whatever you need to keep fixing this problem, we are going to move forward with.’ Those are very encouraging words that the commission has already set forward, whatever you need to fix it,” Nocco said.

The man tasked with making those fixes said there will be growing pains. “We are not where we need to be, I will be the first to admit that. We will be where we need to be very soon, so be patient with us,” Guthrie said.

He said the goal is to eventually get all 9-1-1 calls answered within the first 10 seconds.

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