Hundreds of 911 calls in Dallas on hold, including state representative

DALLAS -- State Rep. Helen Giddings couldn't believe what happened when she called Dallas 911 for help.

"I was told that all operators are busy please do not hang up. We will get to your call as fast as we can,” Rep. Helen Giddings.

Like hundreds of others, Rep. Giddings was placed on hold. On Monday night at one point, more than 300 people who called 911 were on hold. Some waited as long as 30 minutes on the line.

"It took me 26 minutes to get an answer,” said Rep. Giddings.

Rep. Giddings was trying to get help for a friend who had passed out after being released from the hospital after an operation. She says she was frantic when she couldn't get an operator on the line. "I just couldn't believe it happened. It was like something from a movie," Giddings said. 

WFAA has been reporting on this issue for a month. Dallas police say the problem is with T-Mobile. When T-Mobile customers call 911, their phones automatically dial multiple times.

All those calls register as hang-up calls, so 911 operators have to call all of them back, not knowing if the calls are real or not. It's tying up operators and forcing legitimate callers to wait.

The City of Dallas released the following response in a statement:

“This is unacceptable,” said Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax. “We will continue putting pressure on T-Mobile on a daily basis until they solve this problem before this issue results in a life being lost because we could not respond to a call in time.”

The Dallas Police Department is frustrated. "Somebody is going to get hurt or die because of this issue. It's a grave concern to us,” said Deputy Chief Jesse Reyes.

Dallas police said it has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, issued public communications about the issue, and escalated it to T-Mobile management. T-Mobile is the only cell phone carrier experiencing this problem. 

Benito Moriel tried to call in a grass fire near the Dallas Zoo. He was placed on hold on and off for more than an hour.

"This is the first time. I never even knew they had a machine that would like answer the phone. I felt like I was calling water utility, and I am like, 'What is happening here? How is this even possible?'” said Moriel.

Dallas police have been attending conference calls and meetings with T-Mobile engineers to try and find a solution. So far, they can't fix the problem. The department is going to have to bring in patrol officers on overtime to help out 911.

T-Mobile has repeatedly denied requests for interviews, telling WFAA that we need to discuss the issue with the Dallas Police Department. 

Giddings is meeting with Dallas city leaders to push for answers.

The city says no other cities in the area or Texas have experienced a similar issue. 

T-Mobile also released a statement on the problem:

"We take our customers security and safety very seriously and have been working daily with the Dallas PSAP team to resolve this local issue. We are committed to a continued collaboration with them to solve the problem.”

City of Dallas responds after 911 ghost call issues by wfaachannel8 on Scribd

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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