Police see improvements in Cumberland County 911

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Police in Cumberland County say ongoing problems with emergency dispatch are on their way to being resolved.

In August, several police chiefs went to the county commissioners with concerns about dispatch putting officers on hold during situations like traffic stops. Police said this put them in danger and left them vulnerable if the situation became an emergency.

Shortly after those complaints, the 911 center began the process of making several changes. Now, police say the situation has improved drastically.

“Just like we want the citizens of Cumberland County to feel safe with us and feel like they’re protected, we want law enforcement and fire and EMS to feel the same way,” Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Silverstrim said. “We want them to know that we are a lifeline for them and we are here for them.”

Now, Cumberland County 911 has an additional call-taker during busy hours, along with several new part-time employees. The goal is to free up people to take radio calls from emergency responders. A new phone rotation also prioritizes police calls into dispatch, and the 911 center now meets with emergency responders regularly to discuss questions and concerns.

Future changes include finding a way to lower the number of non-emergency calls that come through dispatch, and working on a “silent dispatch” that sends non-emergency information to police through computers.

“Can any organization improve what they’re doing? Always,” Silverstrim said. “There are always ways to improve. There are always ways to be more efficient. But in terms of Cumberland County, we have some of the most hard-working, best-trained, professional, dedicated folks working here at the 911 center.”

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