Valley callers reporting emergencies and expecting immediate help were instead met with delays Tuesday afternoon, when the Metropolitan Police Department communications center first reported it was having issues taking 911 and 311 calls.
The crash started at 3:30 p.m. and lasted more than six hours, and Metro responded by rerouting emergency calls to Henderson or North Las Vegas dispatch. With a priority on emergencies, Metro also stopped taking nonemergency calls as officers and technicians worked to solve the issue.
“It’s all hands on deck,” Metro spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said at 5:30 p.m.
But this crash wasn’t supposed to happen. Sometime late last year, a new $2.3 million system was installed to prevent such system failures, like the one that happened in June, which lasted six hours and left 400 people who called 911 with a busy signal.
That June crash was one reason the new system’s installation was expedited. And thanks to about $500,000 in funding approved by the Clark County Board of Commissioners in July and earmarked for the construction of a new floor at police headquarters to house the new system’s conduit lines, it was.
Meltzer couldn’t confirm the system’s specific completion date Tuesday evening, but did confirm that Metro was operating on the new 911 system when lines crashed that afternoon.
In December, Metro discussed building a second 911 dispatch center to serve as a backup in case a problem like Tuesday’s happened, but officials said then that it wouldn’t be ready until sometime this spring.
A statement released Tuesday evening said Metro was “diligently working to find this problem and get the system back up and running.”
“We cannot apologize enough for the inconvenience to our community,” the statement said.
Metro said on Twitter the system was restored just before 10 p.m., adding, “Thank you for your patience.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Colton Lochhead contributed to this report. Contact Rachel Crosby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-387-5290. Find her on Twitter: @rachelacrosby