Police Department issues statement on call center challenges

Published on June 22, 2021

The Fort Worth Police Department has received inquiries about staffing in its 911 call center.

The department issued this statement:

“We are very proud of the men and women in our call center who have remained steadfast and faithful through the unprecedented challenges of the last year. Due to some of these challenges, specifically the COVID pandemic restrictions, the hiring process for new call-takers was slowed and complicated. Because of this, staffing in our call center has not been able to keep pace with employee attrition and our rapid population growth.

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“This has led to understaffing issues, which have, in some limited cases, translated to a slowed or delayed response to our citizens who are attempting to reach emergency services. We apologize for this disservice and recognize that 911 services must remain intact, especially in the face of difficult challenges. Please be confident that your police department takes this issue seriously.

“To remedy the staffing issues, the Fort Worth Police Department has taken several steps to fix the immediate staffing issues as we implement long-term solutions to prevent our call center from ever being in this position again.”

Some of these steps include:

  • Streamlining the call-taking process to lessen the time that a call-taker is required to be on the phone with a caller.
  • Implementing modified work schedules in the call center to increase the staffing that is available at all times.
  • Temporarily mandating overtime shifts for all call center employees to also increase available staffing as we work toward training new employees.
  • Continuing to focus on a hiring campaign to identify viable call-taking candidates and bring them on board as quickly as possible.
  • Assigning additional background officers to expedite the hiring process for new call-takers.
  • Bringing new leadership into the call center with fresh, inventive ideas and insight.
  • Soliciting input from our call center employees on bettering their work environment.
  • Conducting a salary study to make sure Fort Worth remains competitive in pay with other regional call centers.
  • Recruiting retired call-takers to work on a part-time basis to immediately increase staffing levels.
  • Assignment of injured or light-duty police employees to the call center.
  • Allowing sworn and non-sworn police employees to staff the call center as needed.
  • Coordinating with other local 911 call centers on ideas and methods to increase the hiring, retention and efficiency of call-takers.

“The Fort Worth Police Department is committed to the safety and well-being of our citizens. We continue to work diligently on addressing the staffing issues in our 911 call center to ensure that the citizens of Fort Worth receive the service that they deserve.”

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