PORTLAND, Ore. — COVID-19, riots and social justice demonstrations dramatically increased calls to 9-1-1 and the non-emergency line.  The average wait time in August was 38 seconds compared to 9 seconds in the month of April, and 28 seconds in October.  The total call workload in August was 94,599.

“There are 871 sworn members of the Portland Police Bureau including Chiefs, Commanders, and Detectives.  Actual officers out on the streets is 300.  The gap in between is often because of days off for vacations, family leave, and injuries,” said Sergeant Kevin Allen with Portland Police.

The Bureau of Emergency Communication for the City of Portland is split between answering emergency and non-emergency calls.  At times, it can be very busy according to Director Bob Cozzie.

While the city is auditing public safety bureaus into the first of 2021, Director Cozzie hopes 3-1-1 can be ramped up for non-emergency calls that don’t require highly-skilled emergency call takers.

Just like phone calls are a challenge for police, often times a lead Sergeant will have to route a patrol car from a precinct far away to respond to a call.

KXL’s Rosemary Reynolds filed this report:

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