Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

FY 2015-16 Requested Budget: Bureau of Emergency Communications

I respectfully submit the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) FY 2015-16 Requested Budget for your consideration. We have developed this budget as a stability budget with decision packages essential for ensuring the bureau has the resources it needs to answer 9-1-1 calls and dispatch an appropriate response.

BOEC’s job is immense. In 2013, BOEC answered 913,063 calls, including 395,792 9-1-1 calls. Seconds count when a crime is happening, when fire is beginning to spread, or when someone is experiencing a cardiac arrest. So, BOEC’s goal is to answer 99% of 9-1-1 calls within 60 seconds, and the Bureau tracks the percentage of those calls answered within 2 seconds, 20 seconds, 60 seconds, and 120 seconds. Investing in a timely and effective 9-1-1 response is often the best way to improve total response times to these emergency incidents.

The Bureau’s front line staff, generally, are fully trained and certified both as calltakers and dispatchers, and the Bureau uses a model that moves staff from one role to another throughout their shifts. When the Bureau’s staffing level dips, there is a cascade of effects, including delays in answering and dispatching 9-1-1 calls, increased use of mandatory and voluntary overtime, and declining staff morale. Since new recruits require a minimum of 18 months to train fully and the nature of the work makes retaining those new recruits challenging, it takes time for the Bureau to recover from a staffing dip.

Currently, the bureau has 79 certified dispatchers, 8 certified calltakers, and 14 trainees. These levels are low by historical standards because the Bureau continues to recover from a staffing freeze implemented from fall 2010 through spring 2011 in order to train existing staff on the new READ FULL BUDGET REQUEST