"Minimal progress" made on reforming 911, D.C. audit says
The D.C. auditor says “minimal progress” has been made on reforming the District's troubled emergency call system after an audit from last October, according to a follow-up audit by Federal Engineering, Inc.
Why it matters: The Office of Unified Communications manages 911 and has been hit with criticism for dispatch errors.
- This summer, two infants died in separate incidents due to errors in dispatching emergency personnel — incidents the auditor’s office says will be evaluated in a future audit.
Flashback: The audit found that while the appropriate number of emergency personnel were dispatched in 97% of calls, the 911 agency was inconsistent in handling calls, had difficulties in locating emergencies, and did not meet national standards for getting timely help for callers in both 2019 and 2020.
- The audit made 31 recommendations to reform the agency.
Yes, but: It has completed only one recommendation, which was related to using a location-centric technology for 911 call centers.
- Yet minimal progress has been made on prioritizing the types of 911 calls, streamlining call data, and getting 911 call-takers to stick to scripted protocol, among other recommendations.
- No progress has yet been made on improving translation services, which was required by the end of last month, the audit says.
What they’re saying: OUC Acting Director Karima Holmes, who had previously left the agency in 2021 amid criticism and was reappointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser this March, wrote in a response to the report that she was pleased with the progress the agency has made and looks forward to meeting with the audit team this month.
- When asked for comment, OUC pointed Axios to its plan on meeting these recommendations. The mayor’s office did not respond to Axios' request for comment.
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