HBO Host John Oliver Calls Out Wyoming’s 911 System
Did you know that Wyoming is one of only six states in the country without a statewide agency to coordinate 911 emergency call services?
The dismal state of 911 systems across the country drew the ire of HBO's John Oliver, who recently addressed the issue on his popular series "Last Week Tonight" (Wyoming appears at 7:07 into the video).
Oliver's scathing critique was an indictment of underfunded and understaffed emergency call centers nationwide.
Which begs the question, since Wyoming doesn't have a statewide program to dispatch 911 calls, how well do the individual call centers operate?
According to the website 911dispatcheredu.org, there are nearly 340 professional dispatchers across Wyoming.
The largest call centers in the state are Cheyenne's 911 and Non-Emergency Communications Center, the Joint Combined Communications Center which serves Rock Springs and southwestern Wyoming, the Albany County Dispatch Center in Laramie, the Gillette Communications Center and Casper's Public Safety Communications Center, which reportedly receives nearly 400 calls per day.
While also the state's busiest call center, Casper's might be the most outdated. The website cites several 911 outages, some which lasted for several minutes, due to antiquated technology "dating from the 1960s."
Luckily, the Casper Public Safety Communications Center is expected to receive $750,000 in upgrades.
In spite of their challenges, 911 operators in Cheyenne must be doing something right. Earlier this month, Cheyenne Police Chief Brian Kozak proudly announced that his department's response time is nearly three minutes faster than the national average.