The Little Rock Police Department is acknowledging it fails to answer some 9-1-1 calls. According to Police Chief Kenton Buckner, the problem is technological. Phones ring repeatedly before being answered because of the way calls are patched into the department from AT&T.
Buckner met with Ward 2 community members on Monday night. He told the crowd the issue came to his attention after an animal control officer was unable to call the police on Sunday about an escalating situation with a pit bull.
“That officer dealt with the pit bull and was able to corner that dog when the owner of the dog came out and jumped on his back. He was able to get her off and deal with the dog. He called 9-1-1 three times," he said.
Buckner said he learned of the issue on Monday. "I can tell you we do have some concerns and issues with 9-1-1 with the number of rings it takes to pick up the phone,” Buckner told the crowd.
Several residents at the meeting expressed frustration over unanswered calls. City Director for Ward 2, Ken Richardson, said he plans to follow up with city leaders.
“I really found it interesting that one gentleman called 9-1-1 and they called him back and asked if he had called... That kind of non-response, or lack of response, I found really really interesting,” he said.
Richardson says these types of issues reinforce concerns in his neighborhood that people who live in some wards get worse services than others.
Buckner has six more community meetings scheduled this month. The next will be on Thursday in Ward 4.