The Mission-Critical Resource Center

Memphis Police and 911 Communications Enjoys a Rebirth with MCP's Support

In Summary: 

  • Memphis Police and 911 Communications was challenged by aging infrastructure, antiquated systems and an understaffed 911 center.
  • To help overcome these challenges, the Shelby County 911 District completed two 911 center staffing studies, built a new state-of-the-art 911 center, and an upgraded computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system.
  • Today, the situation in Memphis has taken a 180-degree turn. The District has decreased their average time to answer a call from 90 seconds to 6 seconds.

Overview and Agency Challenge

Challenged by aging infrastructure, antiquated systems and an understaffed 911 center, the Memphis Police and 911 Communications were in dire need of modernization and attention. Maintenance was substandard for many of its systems, and all were several releases behind in terms of operating software. The agency needed new CAD and UPS systems. Operationally, the 911 center was understaffed and plagued by archaic policies with emergency callers waiting for as long as seven minutes before their call was answered.

'There was a lot wrong. We were doing things every day just to keep things running. People didn't think we could fix 911, but they were wrong," says Michael Spencer, the police department's emergency communicators administrator.

How Mission Critical Partners Helped

The Shelby County 911 District completed two 911 center staffing studies, which revealed a number of tactics the agency could take to make staffing enhancements, such as:

  • Dedicating 25 personnel resources to handle call-handling, instead of the half dozen it had
  • Converting dispatcher new candidates to call-takers and creating a pool of part-timers

At the same time, the Memphis and MCP team worked together to tackle the infrastructure problems plaguing the police department, including determining whether to invest in replacing or upgrading the CAD system or building and / or renovating the police department's backup 911. Spencer came up with a plan: upgrade the existing CAD system and reallocate their budget to renovating an existing center that housed the police department's 911 center.

MCP provided mission-critical technical guidance to help Memphis create a state-of-the-art 11,000 square foot primary 911 center for the police department on the department's second floor, a spot that originally housed the police training academy,

Results

Today, the situation in Memphis has taken a 180-degree turn and decreased their average time to answer a call from 90 seconds to 6 seconds. The decisions made have resulted in a quantum leap forward for Memphis's police and 911 communications. 

"MCP's subject matter experts have tremendous experience in 911 operations and have a deep understanding of the technology that is unique to public safety. MCP knew what questions to ask. They helped us see the big picture, what we should strive for." says Spencer.

Download the complete case study to learn more about the Memphis approach.