On July 15, the federal government debuted 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a new, easy-to-remember dialing code that operates differently from National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Response times rose from an average of 8.2 minutes for the highest-priority calls in the 12 months before the shift — which had the Asheville Police Department no longer send officers to the scenes of certain minor crimes — to 9 minutes in the 12 months after.
Per the agreement, all city 911 dispatchers would be hired by Buncombe County, which would eliminate all transferring between the county and city, and the city would reimburse the county for the cost of its dispatches.
Of 911 calls and requests for assistance to the Asheville Police Department, less than 1% involve a violent crime, an AVL Watchdog analysis of police dispatch data shows. Much of the time, police are summoned to routine calls such as traffic accidents, domestic disputes and loud parties or non-violent crimes like shoplifting, trespassing and prostitution.
On Sept. 10, Patriot Day eve, about 15 people gathered in front of the Vance Monument in downtown Asheville to rally for “peace on earth.”
News roundup: Buncombe County’s political parties continued to butt heads last week in the run-up to the Nov. 2 election.
The project, which will produce photo-maps of unmatched detail, is part of the state’s 911 emergency-readiness program. “You will be able to make out individual branches on the trees,” said N.C. forester Andrew D. Bailey. In addition to helping emergency response, the imagery will also be used by other state and local agencies, including conservation agencies such as the state Forest Service and local parks and recreation offices.
Board votes to replace GDS for county trash pickup.
Buncombe County will once again consider a city/county 911 services agreement.
In their June 23 meeting — the last before a month-long break — the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners passed a $327 million budget, a 911 agreement between the city and county and signed off on a new location for the Energy Loop sculpture.
A new $2.1 million center built to bring emergency dispatchers together under one roof has opened, but some seats are empty because city and county government officials are at loggerheads over a contract. The stalled move-in means a delay in a hoped-for reduction in emergency response times.