911 Wait Times Are Up in Philly. Here's What to Do When You Call

The Philadelphia Police Department said it is looking to hire 75 more dispatchers

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Staffing shortages and an influx of calls are causing longer wait times during 911 calls in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Police Department said it is contending with a “significant increase” in calls as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have eased, plus scheduling changes to adjust to the staff shortage.

The department added that it has increased staff during peak call hours and that Mayor Jim Kenney has approved additional funds to hire 75 more dispatchers.

“With the additional staffing and reallocation of staffing resources, we are confident that 911 callers will see a decrease in wait times,” the PPD said.

For now, though, people waiting to reach a 911 dispatcher should do the following:

  • Don’t hang up: Calls are answered in the order they are received, so if you hang up and call back, you’ll be placed at the back of the queue.
  • Be patient with dispatchers: Dispatchers need to ask questions to ensure the appropriate services are dispatched.
  • Try to know your location: If you don’t know the exact address, try to be able to at least identify the nearest intersection before dialing 911. This ensures responders arrive as quickly as possible.
  • Use 311 for nonemergency issues: The 311 line can help you with things like recycling pickup, reporting illegal dumping, graffiti removal and more.
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